Interval signal

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The interval signal of Voice of Turkey as heard in 2013.

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 assists a listener to tune his or her radio to the correct frequency of the station. This is because most older and cheaper radio receivers do not have digital frequency readout.
  • 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[edit]

\relative c'{\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"viola" c g' c}
The interval signal for Ö1
\relative c' {\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"tubular bells" \key g \major g'4. b8 d4 d e2 d}
The interval signal for China National
Radio, China Radio International
  •  China:
{\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"celesta" \key a \major \time 4/4 b'2. cis''4 e''2 e''2 | cis''4. e''8 cis''4 a'4 b'2 s}
The interval signal for Voice of the Strait
\relative c'{\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"electric piano 2"  \once \hide Score.MetronomeMark \tempo 4 = 85 \time 3/4 f2 a4 g2 a4 f2 e4 d2 f4 a2 a4 a2 e4 d2.}
The interval signal for DR P1
{ \once \hide Score.MetronomeMark \tempo 4 = 72 \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"harpsichord" \partial 4
  << \relative c'' { g'4 g4. e8 g f d g a8. g16 g2 \fermata \bar "|."
      } \\ \relative c'' {\partial 4
     r4 << c2 e2 >> <<b2 f2>> << c'2. e2. \fermata >> \bar "|."
  } >> }
The interval signal for Deutsche Welle
\relative c''{\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"flute" c'16 b c4. b8 a f4 f8 b a f e4 e16 f a f e2 s}
The interval signal for All India Radio
\relative c' {\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"celesta" \key a \major \time 2/4 a'8^\markup { Kazoe-uta } a cis a cis4 d8 cis fis fis d d cis4 a8 cis d d cis a gis2}

\relative c' {\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"orchestral harp" \once \hide Score.MetronomeMark \tempo 4 = 120 \key f \major d'4^\markup { Sakura Sakura } d e2 d4 d e2 d4 (e) f (e) d (e8 d) bes2}
The interval signals for Radio Japan
  • "Kazoe-uta" (数え歌, counting-out game).
  • "Sakura Sakura" (さくらさくら, cherry blossoms).
The interval signal of Voice of Korea
  •  North Korea
\relative c' {\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"celesta" g'4 e' e8. d16 c4 d8. e16 c4 g2}
The interval signal for Voice of Mongolia
\relative c' {\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"flute" e1 a gis8 a b a \times 2/3 {gis a b} d4 e2 a2}
The interval signal for Radio Pakistan
  •  Philippines:
  • Russia Radio Sakha: Excerpt from a Yakut folk song.

 \relative c'' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f b^\markup { B-B-C } b c }

 \relative c'' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f b^\markup { B-B-B-E } b b e }
The interval signals for BBC
 \relative c' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f g'2 e'2 c1 }
The interval signal for NBC
  •  United States:
The interval signal for Voice of America
{#(set-global-staff-size 18) \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"celesta" \key f \major <a' a''>2 <a' a''> <c'' c'''> <c'' c'''> <f' f''> <f' f''> <a' a''> <a' a''> <d' d''> <g' g''> <c' c''> <f' f''>4 ~ <bes' bes''> <a' a''>2 ~ <g' g''>4. <f' f''>8 <f' f''>1}
The interval signal for Vatican Radio

Formerly used[edit]

The interval signal for DFS 904
The interval signal for Radio NTS

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 2000-2009)[citation needed]

Numbers station interval signals[edit]

Numbers stations are often named after their interval signals, such as The Lincolnshire Poacher or Magnetic Fields after "Magnetic Fields Part 1" by Jean-Michel Jarre.


  1. ^ Treiber, Alfred, 1944- (2007). Ö1 gehört gehört : die kommentierte Erfolgsgeschichte eines Radiosenders (in German). Wien: Böhlau. p. 218. ISBN 978-3-205-77495-2. OCLC 127107294.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ stephensen (2009-10-19). "Pausesignal". Retrieved 2020-04-02 – via YouTube.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Tuning into broadcast history. The Hindu BusinessLine, 15 October 2015.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^
  7. ^ BBC World Service (Europe) interval signal Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  8. ^ a b c d Frost, J. M. World Radio TV Handbook. New York: Billboard Publications, 1983.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ nl:Pauzeteken[better source needed]
  12. ^
  13. ^ Frost, Jens Mathiesen. World Radio-TV Handbook. London: Billboard Publications, 1974.
  14. ^ Youtube
  15. ^
  16. ^ Radio Sweden interval signal Retrieved 2011-11-24.
  18. ^
  • Frost, Jens Mathiesen (1974). World Radio-TV Handbook 1974. London: Billboard Publications. p. 408. ISBN 0823058980.
  • Sennitt, Andrew G.; David Bobbitt (December 2005). World Radio and Television Handbook 2006. Billboard Books. p. 608. ISBN 0-8230-7798-5.
  • Sennitt, Andrew G. World Radio and Television Handbook 1997. Billboard Books. p. 560. ISBN 0-8230-7797-7.

External links[edit]