There is a growing interest in all kinds of film, TV and ambient music, not just the classic main themes but in sound tracks, interludes, library and production music (used as incidental music in films and TV programmes, also for the background to newsreels, through shopping-mall and elevator 'Muzak', to the background music behind the television test card.

Soundtracks are only part of the story, therefore; the other music used in films and broadcasts is categorised either as 'presentation' or 'production' music, depending on whether it identifies the production or is merely incidental to it.

Soundtrack albums have always been fairly accessible (so long as you bought them whilst still available) but the production or 'library' music used incidentally in programmes was not to be had for love or money since they were made available only for professional users.

Gradually the specialist music libraries recognised there was a market for this as well and many of these original performances are now being made available to the public. You can now find them on commercial recordings in the form of limited edition albums available either through specialist labels or by special arrangement through organisations such as the Robert Farnon Society (which is allowed to sell library music CDs to members only -a good enough reason for joining!).


  • GALA OF FILM MUSIC, concerts by the BBC Elstree Concert Band in the Westminster Central Hall, London. Organised by Don Walker, 21 Bonsart Road, London, SW6 6AJ (020-7385 6468 evenings). Send SAE for details of next event.

Magazines and specialist publications

  • FROM SILENTS TO SATELLITE. The journal of film and TV music. Details from John Williams, 1 Folly Square, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3PU.
  • HISTORIC RECORD & AV COLLECTOR. John Wrigley, 185 The Wheel, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, S30 3ZA. Quarterly magazine with fascinating articles on the history of recording, with regular guides to matrix numbers, etc..
  • JOURNAL INTO MELODY. The magazine of the Robert Farnon Society (see below).
  • NZ FILM MUSIC BULLETIN. A magazine for film enthusiasts published quarterly by Colin Adamson, 35 Jenkin Street, Invercargill, New Zealand.
  • TELE TUNES, £15.25 (post-free in the UK), from Mike Preston, The Glengarry, Thornton Grove, Morecambe, Lancs., LA4 5PU. This is an amazing annual directory of film and advertising music. It lists all television commercials, programmes, films and shows in 300 fact-filled pages, listing the music used in the productions, whether commercially available and so on.

Specialist suppliers

  • APOLLO SOUND. 32 Ellerdale Road, London, NW3 6BB. Easy listening, Test Card Music and more. Web site:
  • BBC RECORDS (available through most record stores) ON THE AIR. ZCD454. 60 Years of BBC Theme Tunes.
  • ROBERT FARNON SOCIETY David Ades, Stone Gables, Upton Lane, Seavington St. Michael, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0PZ. The Farnon Society was founded in 1956, and its aims remain to publicise the work of Robert Farnon in particular and similar musicians involved in light and film music. The society is also the forum for people interested in library music, used (for example) as incidental and background music in the sound tracks of films and radio and TV programmes. At least four magazines are published each year, and London meetings are held in April and November. In particular, look out for the splendid Guild series of CDs of pre-1960 Light Music, of which there are now more than 50. Free sample magazine available from the Secretary, David Ades.
  • MOVIE GROOVES, PO Box 469, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 4EJ. Tel: 01252 668001. Web site: A mail order webstore that's dedicated to providing movie soundtracks and and library music from the 60s & 70s.
  • RADIO SIX SCOTLAND, Box 600, Glasgow, G41 5SH (0141-427 0531). SOUNDS VISUAL. RSY603. 16 vintage TV themes on cassette, highly recommended.
  • SCREENTHEMES, 22 Kensington Close, Toton, Nottingham, NG9 6GR. Stockists and publishers of theme tune albums. Good mail order list.
  • SILVA PRODUCTIONS Ltd (Silva Screen records), Silva Productions Ltd, 261 Royal College Street, London, NW1 9LU (020-7284 0525, fax 020-7482 2385). Large catalogue of mainly recent film and TV music. Mail order.
  • WINCHESTER HOSPITAL RADIO can supply library and production music. Authentic Interlude Music & TV and Radio Themes on CDs including "Watch With Teacher" and "Girl In A Suitcase". Web site: Click on to their 'WHR CDs' link for more.


Television theme music

  • FAMOUS THEMES, MORE FAMOUS THEMES and LONDON CALLING (Famous Themes Volume 3). Grasmere Music Ltd, 59 Marlpit Lane, Coulsdon,CR5 2HF. Price £8 (including postage) on cassette, other formats available.

    "With the rapid expansion of radio and television networks throughout the world, many leading music publishers formed their own recorded music libraries to satisfy the increasing demand. For various reasons these mood music records were only made available for professional users. Many of these original performances are now being made available to the general public for the first time on commercial recordings."

    So says Bob Barrett of Grasmere Records, who has done us an inestimable favour by putting these treasured themes on tape (and record and CD). All your radio and TV favourites are on these three albums, a total of 65 (yes, 65) melodies in all. Composers include Robert Farnon, Richard Adinsell, Eric Coates et al. And what a selection! Picture Parade, Down Your Way, Music While You Work, the TV interlude themes, old BBC news intros, Pathé News... Sorry, I'm getting carried away.
  • SOUNDS VISUAL. RSY603. 16 vintage TV themes, highly recommended. Cassette, current price unknown. By mail and only from Radio Six Scotland, PO Box 600, Glasgow, G41 5SH. 0141-427 0531.
  • SCREENTHEMES, 3 Newland Close, Toton, Nottingham, NG9 6EQ (tel/fax 0115-973 2431). Mail order business supplying thousands of current and deleted items by the world’s top composers of television and film music.

    Other production and library music CDs by publishers such as CHAPPEL and KPM are not sold to the public (but can be bought through the Robert Farnon Society.

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