Nathan and I spent some time talking about the theme for the show. He was largely content with it being a copyright-free version of Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March”, because he, quite rightly, felt that the music most associated with Python and, specifically, the Flying Circus should bring people into the show. We also knew, like the hosts of We Got This, that many people skip the theme song or intro if it’s too long or indulgent.
I wasn’t content with just a straight lift of Sousa’s march — and was worried that copyright spiders might not be able to tell the difference between different orchestras performing the same public domain arrangement — so we collaborated on mixing a combination of Archive.org clips to indicate a progressive culmination of sound… a “Liberty Bell” Perspective, if you will.
Not all of the Archive clips required non-commercial attribution under the Creative Commons license, but we thought we’d do our due diligence anyway. When the Python Perspective theme opens each episode, the music comes from the following sources:
The first quarter, with the heavy static, is from a Sousa’s Band 78, published on 9 April, 1906.
The thin, amusing arrangement with the prominent piccolo is from Hager’s Orchestra, published by Universal Zonophone, circa 1903.
The strident third section is uploaded by the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is from an Edison Record released in 1917.
And the crystal clear final segment that trails of into the final measures of the piece is a public domain recording performed by the US Army Field Band and uploaded by Archive user Snookietex.
The bell strike comes from a fifth recording, which, despite my efforts to keep track of my sources, I can not source as of the writing of this post. As soon as I locate it, I will edit this accordingly.