What was David Cameron humming on Downing Street?

Prime Minister's musical interlude gets the nation playing 'name that tune'

David Cameron
David CameronOn 7 May 2015, David Cameron stood outside No10 having finally won a majority in the House of Commons. On 23 June 2016, he stood outside the famous black door to resign as prime minister, having called and lost the EU referendum. As if to
(Image credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron was caught humming a little tune to himself after announcing the timetable of his departure to the nation yesterday.

A BBC microphone pinned to his suit captured the "swan song" as he crossed the threshold of 10 Downing Street.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"97155","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Almost immediately, the internet was awash with speculation as to which song Cameron was attempting to replicate.

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The initial betting was on the theme tune to The West Wing, the acclaimed US political drama whose final episode "marries up quite nicely with today's events", notes The Independent.

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Others suggested it was actually closer to something Winnie the Pooh might have hummed at the end of a long hard day in the Hundred Acre Wood.

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Perhaps the most sonically similar suggestion was Shostakovich's Symphony Number Five - although no-one could quite work out what the political symbolism would be.

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While some focused on the tune itself, others looked at similar exits from the world of television in order to gain some insight into the Prime Minister's state of mind.

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Meanwhile, in an attempt to provide the definitive answer, Classic FM produced a piece of forensic analysis on Cameron's composition.

Describing its 3/4 time as "secure", writer Daniel Ross says the PM managed to be "disconcerting" for a couple of bars.

"Harmonically, too, it’s ambivalent, confusing. It’s almost fanfare-like in that confident leap of a fourth from G to C, but it quickly loses confidence when it mirrors the ascent later in the bar, plummeting down to D sharp, forming an awkward implied triad," he wrote.

"Does this composition demonstrate the unresolved nature of Cameron’s swift departure from office?"

Before his musical finale, Cameron had announced he would chair his final cabinet meeting on Tuesday and appear in the House of Commons for Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday before heading to Buckingham Palace to officially tender his resignation to the Queen.

"So we'll have a new prime minister in that building behind me by Wednesday evening," he said.

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