Famous Themes From Ads/TV



There are many musical themes that we are familiar with these days outside of their original context, as they have been used in tv commercials or films, in a striking and memorable way. For example, a famous melody from a classical piece of music is known to most people in Great Britain as The Hovis Theme. Of course Mr Hovis didn’t write it, and in fact it was written well before the actual composer would have had the chance to enjoy a slice of the aforementioned bread whilst composing his piece. And as the composer was Czech, and wrote the piece in America, the connection to England is getting really tenuous. Never mind the fact that no-one else in the world would know what you were on about if you referred to “The Hovis Theme” to, say,  a Canadian, or even tried to engage a Parisian in conversation by referring to “le thème de hovis”.

Other themes however have a more global recognition, for example the piece that is used at the start of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In fact that piece is the opening section of the rather cumbersomely titled: “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, German for “And so spoke Zarathustra”, Zarathustra being the Persian prophet and founder of Zoroastrianism. No wonder people remember it as “the piece from 2001”. It was written by Richard Strauss, not to be confused with Johann Strauss II, who wrote “The Blue Danube”, which is also featured in “2001” but much later in the film, in the bit where the spacecraft docks with the space station dock, and the twoseem to be performing some beautiful celestial waltz with each other (The Blue Danube is, rather fittingly, a waltz).

The problem of course is, if you want to buy these tracks or play the sheet music for them, it’s a bit tricky to find them if you only know them by their popular reference. So here is a little roundup of some of the most famous ones and what they are actually called and whom they are written by:


The Stella Artois Theme – was actually written for the movie Jean De Florette by Jean-Claude Petit.


The piece of music they blast ouf of the helicopters in Apocalypse Now – is actually “The Ride Of The Valkyries” from Richard Wagner’s famous Ring Cycle.


The British Airways Theme is actually a piece entitled The Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes.


The aforementioned piece that accompanies a spaceship docking with a sapcesation in the film 2001 is The Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss II.



The Opening theme From 2001  is actually the opening theme from Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss (no relation to Johann).


The Theme at the end of Ocean’s 11 is actually Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy.


And finally The Hovis Theme is acually the Largo movement from The New World Symphony (Symphony No. 9 in E minor) by Antonín Dvořák.


We hope you enjoyed that!


Web Site Story


Over at comedy site College Humour they have created a really funny and clever parody of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Rather than talking about the rivalry of two gangs in New York City (as the original West Side Story does), the parody uses excerpts from the same songs as West Side Story, but instead weaves the action around how our everyday lives evolve around the internet.

The song “I Feel Pretty” turns into

“I’m on Twitter, I’m on Twitter,

And I’m tweating and singing a song about tweeting

But it’s seven characters too long.

I’m on Facebook, I’m on Facebook,

And my Facebook updates with my tweets,

So I twitter,

And then everybody knows my deeds.”


Compare this to the original lyrics:

“I feel pretty, Oh so pretty

I feel pretty and witty and gay*

And I pity, any girl who isn’t me today.

I feel charming, Oh so charming

It’s alarming how charming I feel

And so pretty, that I hardly can believe I’m real”

(* gay in those days simply went by its original meaning of “happy”)

So, Maria, rather than being a love song about a girl from the other side of the divide, turns into “Pandora, I’ve just found a site called Pandora”. “I Like To Be In America” turns into “I Like To Be On EHarmony”

To compare, here is a clip from the “Original” 1962 film version:


Mumford & Sons Equal The Chart Record Set By The Beatles

English folk rock band Mumford & Sons have equalled the Beatles’ record of havgin 6 tunes in the American Billboard Top 100.

The Beatles set this record as long ago as 1964 – to put this into historical context this was the year that the death penalty was abolished in Great Britain, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment, interest rates in England were at 7% and a loaf of bread cost 21 cents in the US. Seems like a long time ago?

All 6 tracks in the current top 100 are from the new Mumford & Sons album Babel, which became the band’s first UK Number One Album.

Here is the video for Little Lion Man


Coldplay announce 2012 Mylo Xylotl Live Album and Concert DVD

Hi There

Coldplay have just announced that they will be realising a live album and live concert dvd to go alongside the hugely successful album Mylo Xylotl, which was released last year (2011). The band commented:

“We don’t tell anyone all the darker side of things, We’ve been through all the break-ups and addictions and all that. But we have a chemistry that no one else in the world has so we don’t mess with it.”?

Mylo Xylotl included the singles Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall Paradise, Charlie Brown, Princess Of China and Hurts Like Heaven, and reached the Number One album slot in no less than 34 countries.


Beck's Next Album "Song Reader" To Be Released As Sheet Music Only

Hi Everyone

Music Industry Maverick Beck Hansen has decided to pull yet another unconventional trick out of the hat. Rather than releasing his next album, the appropriately titled Song Reader, as a standard audio album, available on cd, as an mp3 download, or even vinyl, there will be no recording to purchase.

Yes you did hear that correctly – rather than spending hours in the studio perfecting takes and mixes, Beck has decided that his 11th album will be released as sheet music only.

According to our friends at Faber Music, Song Reader will include a foreword by Beck, artwork by artists such as Marcel Dzama, Leanne Shapton, Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische, and the physical product will also contain 20 booklets encased in a hardcover.

There will however be “cover-versions” of the songs, which will be posted online and performed by Beck’s friends.

Now we at Great Scores obviously love sheet music, but the whole concept does beg the question of how fans who do not play an instrument, or do not read sheet music are supposed to savour the songs? However it could also be that Song Reader could be a very clever (marketing) idea, resulting in a handful of excellent covers by famous stars. Then again, maybe the famous music stars can’t read sheet music either (Louis Armstrong and Paul McCartney famously could/cannot read music).

Regardless, we will be sure to let you know when the digital version of Song Reader is available for download from Great Scores!


Great Muppets’ Musical Moments No 3: Harry Belafonte

Hi There

Welcome to the third part of our Great Muppets’ Musical Moments series. Today we’ll take a look at Harry Belafonte’s turn as the star guest of The Muppet Show. As well as sharing a drum solo with The Muppets’ Drummer, Animal, he sings one of his biggest hits, The Banana Boat Song with a Muppet ensemble.

For those of you who are not familiar with Harry Belafonte’s music: he was born in New York, but spent part of his childhood at his grandmother’s in Jamaica. As a struggling young singer in New York he became friends with the then also not yet discovered actor Sidney Poitier, and the two were so poor they used to share theatre tickets, switching places during the interval when one would let the other know the state of the play.

Belafonte’s big break cam in 1956 with The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), which introduced the wider world to Calypso music. On the same album as Banana Boat Song was the also highly successful Jamaica Farewell.

Enjoy Belafonte’s lovely voice with the comedy of The Muppets.


Great Muppets' Musical Moments No 2: Feelings (Mi-Mi)

Hi Everyone

Welcome to the second instalment in our Great Muppets’ Musical Moments series.

Today we’ll take a look at Beaker’s great musical moment. For those of you who are not too familiar with all the Muppets characters, Beaker is the assistant to Muppets’ resident scientist, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. Unfortunately for Beaker, Dr Honeydew is not a terribly good scientist, and all his experiments go wrong, which leads poor Beaker to be regularly blown up, or harmed in some other way.

One of the key characteristics of Beaker is that all he can say is “Mi-Mi”, which he usually does at heightened pitch at being the guinea pig for yet another of Dr Honeydew’s experiments.

Yet Beaker gets his one chance of fame, by singing with the Muppets’ house band, and he chooses the song Feelings, a song written by Loulou Gasté and popularised by Morris Albert in 1974/75. Now Beaker can of course only sing “mi”, so the resulting song is absolutely hilarious. You can check out our sheet music for Feelings here.



Great Muppets' Musical Moments No1: Fever


With the Muppets currently enjoying a bit of a revival, I thought I’d share some of the great musical moments that I enjoyed growing up when The Muppets were still on tv.

For anyone who never got to watch the original Muppets’ Show, there was always a special guest for each show, and if this guest was a musical star, they would perform with The Muppets. The Muppets did of course have their own in-house band, the most famous member of which was probably Animal, the drummer, who often featured in these great musical moments.

It is generally quite fascinating watching some of these older clips, as some of the so called stars are still going strong today, others I quite frankly struggle to remember, as time has not been quite so kind to their careers.

This first clip features Animal and the Puerto Rican singer Rita Moreno, who shot to fame when she starred in the 1961 film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

The tune, Fever, is commonly associated with singer Peggy Lee.

Anyway, enjoy this great Muppet Musical Moment:


Interrupted by Nokia Ringtone? Make it part of the performance!

Hi Everyone

Slovakian viola player Lukas Kmit reacted cooly when a mobile phone interrupted his recital at the Orthodox Synagogue in Presov, in Slovakia.

Rather than losing his temper, Kmit adapted the notorious Nokia phone theme that had interrupted his performance, much to the delight of his audience.


Piano Tuning – What You Need To Know

Hi Everyone

As piano sheet music is our best-seller, we thought we’d take a look at the issue of piano tuning, and why it is important.

If it’s only my young children who play, why would I need to have my piano tuned regularly?

As we grow older we are more able to articulate our likes and dislikes. This is not always the case in music, wether you are a proficient musician or not. Explaining why exactly something doesn’t sound right musically is very hard. It can be a very abstract and sensuous thing.

When studying piano and in particular elementary level piano, intervals such as fourths and fifths are commonly used. These are very pure and open sounding intervals giving a pleasant sensation. When a piano is tuned well, these intervals form the basis for a clear and pleasing sound over all. Once it goes out of tune the sound becomes muddy and these intervals are heard and felt less clearly, and are much less focussed.

Young children are very sensitive to sound, and in many ways are effected by it more than adults. When it comes to an untuned piano, a child may not only be unable to articulate this, but you are risking the chance he/she will become less engaged and lose interest in playing the piano altogether. By keeping your piano tuned on a regular basis you are helping your child remain focussed and to create a sound that is both pleasing for them and for yourself.

So how often should you have it tuned? The minimum would be once a year, though another good rule of thumb is twice a year, when the seasons change from cold to hot and back again. Pianos are made of very natural materials – wood, felt, leather and metal, so they expand and contract with change in temperature and also dampness. If you live in a very dry climate, it may be worth looking keeping the inside of your piano humid enough, if you live in a very damp climate, you most certainly would not want to add any extra humidity.

Avoid placing your piano against outside walls, and especially avoid placing your piano in front or near a radiator, as this will dry out the wood an make it crack.

Thanks to Dov Waterman for the extra insights into piano tuning. If you are looking for North London Piano Tuner, then please click here.