BBC music in 2001: A Space Odyssey
May 4, 2011 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Can you identify the jazzy BBC intro music used in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

The BBC program that the astronauts watch about themselves is introduced by a quick-tempoed saxophone-flute piece. It can be heard here. Can anyone identify it? Is it music used in real BBC programming of the the 1960s? What is a generic term for this kind of piece?
posted by gubo to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From Wikipedia: A recording of British light music composer Sidney Torch's "Off Beats Mood" was chosen by Kubrick as the theme for the fictitious BBC news programme "The World Tonight" seen aboard the spaceship Discovery.
posted by Harpocrates at 8:50 PM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: Fantastic! Thanks, Harpocrates!
posted by gubo at 8:58 PM on May 4, 2011

The music sort of reminds me of the swing jazz from Raymond Scott, who apparently called his style "descriptive jazz." In case you missed it: recently there was a nice MeFi post about Scott's music (focusing on his song "Powerhouse" in particular, but it also has more links to his other songs from that era). You might be interested in listening to them (or re-listening to them) if you like "Off Beats Mood."
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:33 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, rangefinder!

It turns out to be the first part of Torch's piece called "Off Beat Moods [sic] Part 1 (1-5)." Bliss!
posted by gubo at 9:45 PM on May 4, 2011

Incidentally, in one of the more low-key bits of correct future-prediction, a couple of years (I think) after 2001 came out, the BBC did actually launch a a programme called "The World Tonight" -- albeit on Radio rather than TV, and without a theme tune. Maybe in the future, eh?
posted by Luddite at 4:15 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

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