Light Music

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BBC Light Music Programmes

Friday Night is Music Night

Music While you Work

Music While You Work was a daytime radio programme of continuous live popular music broadcast in the United Kingdom twice daily on workdays from June 1940 until September 1967 by the BBC, initially in the Forces / General Forces Programme, and after the war in the BBC Light Programme and, in the mornings, on the BBC Home Service. The programme began in World War II. By playing non-stop popular / light music at an even tempo it aimed to help factory workers become more productive. For a period, a third edition was broadcast in the late evening for night-shift workers.

The programme originally consisted of live music (light orchestras, dance bands, brass and military bands and small instrumental ensembles). In order to make studios more available during the day, it was decided in 1963 that the shows would be pre-recorded (often in the evening or on Sundays). The programme began and ended with Calling All Workers by Eric Coates. Many combinations made hundreds of appearances, notably Troise and his Banjoliers, Cecil Norman and the Rhythm Players, Bernard Monshin and his Rio Tango Band, Anton and his Orchestra, Bill Savill and his Orchestra and Jack White and his Band. Although the programme became very popular with domestic audiences and later with motorists, it was aimed first and foremost at the factories, and strict rules were applied: predominately familiar pieces, nothing lethargic, consistent volume, avoidance of overloud drumming (which could sound like gunfire), and generally cheerful programmes to which workers could whistle or sing. Jazz was discouraged as, by its very nature, it often deviates from the melody, which had to be clear at all times.

Music While You Work was discontinued in 1967 when most Light Programme offerings moved to BBC Radio 2. It was revived for a week to mark the BBC's 60th anniversary in October 1982 and then as a regular part of Radio 2 from January 1983 to January 1984. There were two short revivals in 1990 and 1991, and a final one-off programme in 1995. The concept of the programme was evoked during BBC Radio 3's "Light Fantastic" 2011 season with a live broadcast of light music from a factory in Irlam performed by the BBC Philharmonic, reminscent of Music While You Work and Workers' Playtime.[1]This one-off programme differed from the original series as it was staged before an audience and the items were announced.

Melodies for You

Popular Light Music Songs used on BBC

Philip Glass - Facades

By the Sleepy Lagoon

The opening song for Desert island discs... with some seagull sounds. By the Sleepy Lagoon was originally a light orchestral "valse serenade" by British composer Eric Coates composed in 1930. Coates had originally been inspired to write the piece in 1930 while overlooking a beach in West Sussex. According to his son, Austin Coates, "It was inspired by the view on a warm, still summer evening looking across the "lagoon" from the east beach at Selsey towards Bognor Regis. It's a pebble beach leading steeply down, and the sea at that time is an incredibly deep blue of the Pacific. It was that impression, looking across at Bognor, which looked pink – almost like an enchanted city with the blue of the Downs behind it - that gave him the idea for the Sleepy Lagoon."

Sailing By

Sailing By is a short piece of light music composed by Ronald Binge in 1963, which is used before the late Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4. A slow waltz, the piece uses a repetitive ABABC structure and features a distinctive rising and falling woodwind arpeggio.