Fourscore

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"Fourscore"
Single by The Airwave Orchestra
from the album Four Score
A-side Fourscore
(The Channel 4 Theme)
B-side Fourscore II
Released 1982
Format 7" single
Genre Electronic rock, symphonic rock, synthpop
Length 3:42
Label Channel 4/Polydor
Writer(s) David Dundas
Producer(s) David Dundas

Fourscore was the signature tune used by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom for 10 years, from 1982 to 1992. It was composed by Lord David Dundas. Various short excerpts from the piece, which were the various orchestrations of the same four note melody, in the key of F Major, were used to accompany the channel ident used between programmes. For each time the music was used for the ident, Dundas received a royalty of £3.50, which totalled approximately £1,000 per week. At the time, the sequence of four notes was the shortest musical piece to be copyrighted.

A related piece with the same four-note theme, Fourscore II, was used by the channel to accompany stills in the event of technical faults, and was played during commercial breaks (and thus was only heard by viewers if their regional ITV franchise had not sold enough advertising to fill the timeslot. This was fairly common occurrence during the first few months of Channel 4's existence due to an industrial dispute which meant that no advertisements featuring Equity members could be broadcast).

The two pieces were issued on a single by Polydor Records, credited to The Airwave Orchestra.

Legal dispute[edit]

The authorship of the four-note theme was disputed by composer David Lawson in 1985, and became the subject of a court case between Lawson and Dundas. The court found in Dundas' favour and the case was dismissed. [1]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lawson v. Dundas, 1985, The Times 13 (Eng.), [1].