The NBC chimes, named for the radio and television network on which they have been used, consists of a succession of three distinct pitches: G3, E4, and C4 (middle C), sounded in that order, creating an arpeggiated C-major chord in the second inversion, within about two seconds time, and reverberating for another two or three seconds. The intervals of this progression are up a major 6th from G3 to E4 and down a major third from E4 to C4. The chimes were the first ever audio trademark to be accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Contrary to widespread belief, the "G-E-C" sequence is not a reference to the General Electric Company (now a minority shareholder in NBC's current parent company), which did not acquire NBC until 1986; however, GE's radio station WGY in Schenectady, New York was an early NBC affiliate, and GE was an early shareholder in RCA, which founded NBC by creating it as a subsidiary.
The chimes were originally used as a cue for radio stations across the network to begin broadcasting their station identifications or local feeds. After their use as a formal network communications signal ended around the 1970s as the result of automation, the chimes has been used ever since as an audio logo or signature for NBC.
Famous quotes containing the words nbc and/or chimes:
“Whether lawyer, politician or executive, the American who knows whats good for his career seeks an institutional rather than an individual identity. He becomes the man from NBC or IBM. The institutional imprint furnishes him with pension, meaning, proofs of existence. A man without a company name is a man without a country.”
—Lewis H. Lapham (b. 1935)
“It was your severed image that grew sweeter,
That floated, wing-stiff, focused in the sun
Along uncertainty and gales of shame
Blown out before I slept. Now you are one
I dare not think alive: only a name
That chimes occasionally, as a belief
Long since embedded in the static past.”
—Philip Larkin (19221986)