An interval signal, or tuning signal, is a characteristic sound or musical phrase used in international broadcasting, numbers stations, and by some domestic broadcasters, played before commencement or during breaks in transmission, but most commonly between programmes in different languages.
It serves several purposes:
- It helps a listener using a radio with an analog tuner to find the correct frequency.
- It informs other stations that the frequency is in use.
- It serves as a station identifier even if the language used in the subsequent broadcast is not one the listener understands.
The practise began in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s and was carried over into shortwave broadcasts. The use of interval signals has declined with the advent of digital tuning systems, but has not vanished. Interval signals were not required on commercial channels in the United States, where jingles were used as identification.
List of interval signals by station
- Radiodifusión Argentina al Exterior: First eight notes of "Mi Buenos Aires querido" by Carlos Gardel, followed by people saying the station's name in eight languages.
- Ö1: Three notes signifying O–R–F by Werner Pirchner, played on viola.
- Voice of the Strait News Radio: Bell version of "Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention" (三大纪律八项注意).
- Radio Habana Cuba: Melody of "March of the 26th of July" (La Marcha del 26 de Julio) by Agustín Díaz Cartaya.
- DR P1: "Drømte mig en drøm i nat", played on xylophone.
- Radio France Internationale: Electronic-disco, culminating in the last 8 measures of "La Marseillaise".
- Deutsche Welle: Celesta version of "Es sucht der Bruder seine Brüder" from Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven.
- Voice of Greece: "The Little Shepherd" (Ο Τσομπανάκος), played on floghera.
- All India Radio: A tune composed by Walter Kaufmann or Thakur Balwant Singh, used since 1936.
- Radio Republik Indonesia: "Solace on Coconut Island" (Rayuan Pulau Kelapa), composed by Ismail Marzuki.
- RTÉ Radio 1: Chime version of "O'Donnell Forever" (O'Donnell Abú).
- Radio Japan:
- "Kazoe-uta" (数え歌, counting-out game).
- "Sakura Sakura" (さくらさくら, cherry blossoms).
- North Korea
- KBS World Radio: "Dawn".
- RTL Radio: "De Feierwon" by Michel Lentz, played on chimes.
- Voice of Mongolia: "Motherland" (Эх орон).
- Radio Romania International: The first nine notes of “Pui de lei", lyrics by Ioan S. Nenițescu and song by Ionel G. Brătianu
- Radio Mayak: Vibraphone version of Moscow Nights.
- Radio Sakha: Excerpt from a Yakut folk song.
- Radio Slovenia: Electronically generated cuckoo chirping.
- Radio Ukraine International: "Roar and groan, vast Dnieper" (Реве та стогне Дніпр широкий).
- BBC World Service:
- United States:
- Radio Nacional de Venezuela's Canal Internacional: Beginning of "Alma Llanera" by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez and Rafael Bolívar Coronado.
- Radio Tirana: Këputa një gjethe dafine (transmission intro) and the trumpet version of With Pickaxe and Rifle.
- Radio Australia: Chimes version of Waltzing Matilda (chorus), Kookaburra call. News signature tune: Majestic Fanfare.
- Radio Österreich International: Orchestral version of An der schönen blauen Donau ("Blue Danube Waltz") by Johann Strauss.
- RTBF International: Où peut-on être mieux qu’au sein de sa famille.
- Rádio Nacional: Luar do Sertão ("Hinterlands Moonlight").
- Radio Canada International: First four notes of O Canada, played on piano or autoharp.
- Trumpet version of Kupředu levá ("Forward, Left") by Jan Seidl
- East Germany
- Deutschlandfunk: Celesta version of Dir, Land voll Lieb' und Leben from "Ich hab' mich ergeben" by Hans Ferdinand Maßmann.
- Radio Budapest: Excerpts from the suite 1848 by T.K. Polgar played on three trumpets and two cornets.
- Radio Katowice: Sound of a hammer striking an anvil.
- Radio Olsztyn: Excerpt from O Warmio moja miła by Feliks Nowowiejski, played on barrel organ.
- Polish Radio External Service: Excerpt from Prząśniczka by Stanisław Moniuszko, played on piano.
- Radio Polonia: Piano version of Etude No. 12 ("Revolutionary Etude") by Frédéric Chopin.
- Radio Bucharest 1 and Radio Bucharest External Service (pre 1989): Fragment from Cantata anilor luminǎ by Anatol Vieru
- Voice of Russia: "Majestic" chorus from the "Great Gate of Kiev" portion of Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.
- Radio Serbia: Bože pravde.
- Radio Slovakia International: Kto za pravdu horí.
- Radio RSA (former international service of Apartheid-era South African Broadcasting Corporation): Bokmakierie chirping and first bars of Ver in die Wereld, Kittie, played on guitar.
- Radio Sweden: Chime version of Ut i vida världen ("Out in the Wide World"), composed by Ralph Lundsten and the opening notes of Carl Michael Bellman's Storm och böljor tystna r'en.
- Radio Moscow (former international service of the Soviet Union):
- BBC World Service: Trumpet version of Oranges and Lemons, first four notes of Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven, played on timpani; Lillibullero (signature tune, played on trumpet).
- WYFR: First two bars of To God Be the Glory by William Howard Doane played by a brass band
- Radio Yugoslavia (1980–1989): First bar of Druže Tito, ljubićice bjela anonymous Partisan song, in various orchestral renditions.
- Radio Yugoslavia, later International Radio of Serbia and Montenegro: Jugoslavijo by Nikola Hercigonja.
Classical radio station WQXR-FM in New York City, during its ownership by The New York Times Company, played different variations of a classical infused gong with the ID read at the same time as "The Classical Station of the New York Times, WQXR, New York (And WQXR.com 2000–2009)
Numbers station interval signals
- Treiber, Alfred (2007). Ö1 gehört gehört : die kommentierte Erfolgsgeschichte eines Radiosenders (in German). Vienna: Böhlau. p. 218. ISBN 978-3-205-77495-2. OCLC 127107294.
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: stephensen (2009-10-19). "Pausesignal". Retrieved 2020-04-02 – via YouTube.
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: Ο τσομπανάκος σήμα ΕΡΤ). YouTube.
- Tuning into broadcast history. The Hindu BusinessLine, 15 October 2015.
- "'O'Donnell Abú'". RTÉ.ie.
- "Pausenzeichen und ihre musikalischen Quellen".
- Frost, Jens Mathiesen (1983). World Radio TV Handbook. New York: Billboard Publications.
- "Radion väliaikamerkki". yle.fi.
- "kalter-krieg-im-radio.de". www.kalter-krieg-im-radio.de.
- http://www.ontheshortwaves.com/Articles/The_Interval_Signal.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- Frost, Jens Mathiesen (1974). World Radio-TV Handbook. London: Billboard Publications. ISBN 9780823058983.
- "- YouTube". www.youtube.com.
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: RADIO INTERVAL SIGNALS - "Radio Polonia". YouTube.
- "DX Listening Digest 7-043".
- Radio Sweden interval signal Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- BBC World Service (Europe) interval signal Retrieved 2013-10-09.
- "Top deset pjesama o Titu". vijesti.ba.
- Sennitt, Andrew G. (1997). World Radio and Television Handbook 1997. Billboard Books. p. 560. ISBN 0-8230-7797-7.
- Sennitt, Andrew G.; David Bobbitt (December 2005). World Radio and Television Handbook 2006. Billboard Books. p. 608. ISBN 0-8230-7798-5.
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