Funeral March by Chopin

Posted by Administrator on 4/10/2012
You might already know Frederic Chopin’s Funeral March before you learn this piece; it’s been used and/or parodied in everything from actual funerals (most notably Chopin’s own) to movies and cartoons. This Funeral March is actually the third movement of Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor. It’s modeled after the Rossini opera La Gazza Ladra, which itself has become the object of parodies.

However, parodies and Monty Python usage aside, Chopin’s Funeral March is anything but lighthearted, trivial, or a “throwaway.” It, as part of the greater sonata work, has been called “haunting”—so much so that, in fact, it’s reputed that this piece of music was one sure way to get Chopin to end an evening of playing in the salon. All someone had to do was request the Funeral March, and Chopin would be so emotionally undone by its conclusion that all thoughts of further playing were forgotten. One biographer even claims to hear the “pain and grief of an entire nation” in the Funeral March.

The nation in question would have been Chopin’s native Poland, under fire from Russia in the 1830s. As a Pole himself, living in exile away from his homeland, Chopin clearly both sympathized with and worried about the safety of relatives left behind at the mercy of their enemies. As with so many of his troubles, Chopin poured this, too, into his music.

And again, despite comedic or light uses for the themes of this piece, it has been employed in its original intent as well: among those of prominence who have had Chopin’s Funeral March played at their funerals are John F. Kennedy and—in a touch of irony—Russians Stalin and Brezhnev. While you may not play this piece for an actual service, as you do play it, knowing a bit of its background will help you understand and appreciate some of the emotion the elegant Polish composer had in mind when he set this evocative music down for the ages.

Funeral March of Chopin



Date: 5/15/2012 8:44:05 AM
Thank you for this informative article. Now I know the history behind the Funeral March. I've been playing piano for quite some time now. It's good to know the story behind the classical pieces especially that they do not contain lyrics. We can appreciate the music piece more and play them with emotions.
Date: 6/3/2015
i think it is not the same piece the text talks about!

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