A funeral march (Marche funèbre in French, Marcia funebre in Italian, Trauermarsch in German) is a march, usually in a minor key, in a slow "simple duple" metre, imitating the solemn pace of a funeral procession. Some such marches are often considered appropriate for use during funerals and other sombre occasions, the most well-known being that of Chopin. Handel uses the name dead march, also used for marches played by a military band at military funerals and executions.
Examples in classical music include:
- The Marche funèbre second movement of Charles-Valentin Alkan's Symphony for solo piano, Op. 39, No. 5.
- Alkan's "Funeral March on the Death of a Parrot" for four-part chorus, three bassoons, and oboe
- The second movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 (Eroica).
- The third movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 12 (written in the key of A-flat minor with a middle section in A-flat major).
- A funeral march, formerly attributed to Beethoven (WoO Anhang 13), believed to be by Johann Heinrich Walch, played at the Remembrance Day Cenotaph Service.
- The Funeral March for the Final Scene of Hamlet by Hector Berlioz.
- The eighth variation from Benjamin Britten's Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10.
- Marche funèbre for piano written by Frédéric Chopin in 1837, which became the 3rd movement of his Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35.
- Chopin's Marche funèbre for piano in C minor, Op. posth. 72, No. 2.
- The funeral march in Ferdinand David's Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra.
- The Trauermarsch written by Anton Diabelli in memory of Michael Haydn for solo guitar.
- The funeral march from Zdeněk Fibich's opera The Bride of Messina.
- The "Funeral Music" for Akhnaten's father in Act I of the opera Akhnaten, by Philip Glass.
- The Funeral March of a Marionette by Charles Gounod (1872); this later became known to contemporary audiences as the theme music used for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series (1955–65)
- The Funeral March in Memory of Rikard Nordraak by Edvard Grieg.
- The Dead March from Saul by George Frideric Handel.
- The third movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No.3 in E-Flat Minor Op.30
- A funeral march for Napoleon Bonaparte, in Háry János, by Zoltán Kodály, after Napoleon has been defeated by the hero Háry János.
- Franz Liszt's Marche funèbre, En mémoire de Maximilian I, Empereur du Mexique ("Funeral march, In memory of Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico") from Années de pèlerinage, Book 3.
- Liszt's Trauervorspiel und Trauermarsch, S.206 (written in 1885 (the year before he died), and published three years later in 1888)
- The third movement of Gustav Mahler's first symphony, "Funeral March in the Manner of Callot" based on "Bruder Martin", the German minor-key variant of the children's song "Frère Jacques.", and the Trauermarsch opening movement of his Symphony No. 5.
- The funeral march for Lìu in the opera Turandot, by Giacomo Puccini.
- The March "sounded before her chariot" from Henry Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary.
- The fourth movement of Alexander Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 1.
- The "Funeral March:" Adagio Molto from Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 15.
- "Siegfried's Funeral March" from Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner.
Classical music examples with the character of a funeral march but not specifically titled as funeral marches include:
- Masonic Funeral Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
- The theme from Beethoven's "Nine Variations on a March by Ernst Christoph Dressler" for piano, WoO 63, is a funeral march.
- Song Without Words, Op. 62, No. 3, by Felix Mendelssohn; this is often called "Trauermarsch," but it is so called without the composer's approval.
- The 2nd movement of Johannes Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem has the characteristics of a funeral march, but it is in a slow triple metre.
- The song "Der Tamboursg'sell" ("The Drummer Boy") from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, by Gustav Mahler.
- Zaubermarsch, a composition for orchestra written in 1990 by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero.
- Surusoitto (Funeral Music) for organ, Op. 111b (1931), from "2 Pieces in memory of Akseli Gallen-Kallela", by Jean Sibelius.
Examples in contemporary music include:
- Part IX of Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Wish You Were Here, 1975) has been described as "a slow 4/4 funeral march... the parting musical eulogy to Syd [Barrett]" by David Gilmour.
- Jelly Roll Morton's Dead Man Blues
- Duke Ellington's Black and Tan Fantasy
- Chico Buarque's "Funeral de um Lavrador" which appeared in the film adaptation of João Cabral de Melo Neto's Morte e Vida Severina.
- The Protomen's "Funeral for a Son," the second track from their eponymous debut album.
- Despite not being a literal funeral march, John T. Williams's "Imperial March," from the Star Wars films, retains many characteristics of one.
- The Olympia Brass Band had a notable part in the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die where they lead a funeral march for a victim assassinated during the march. Trumpeter Alvin Alcorn plays the knife wielding "baby-faced killer".
- WWE professional wrestler The Undertaker entrance theme samples Chopin's funeral march.
- Electronic music producer Deadmau5 is also using Chopin's funeral march theme in his song "Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff". His track "Clockwork", sampled from Cygnus X - "Orange Theme", which itself uses the title music of the film A Clockwork Orange, which itself is an adaptation of Henry Purcell's Funeral March for Queen Mary.
- Funeral doom metal
- Queen's "Procession" march, opening track from their second album, Queen II.
- American rapper and actor, Mos Def. From his 2004 album The New Danger has a song titled "BedStuy parade & Funeral March" although not a literal funeral march this song has some characteristics of dirge music
- C418's Ward, includes the Funeral march as its intro in the popular game Minecraft.
- UFX's "Dead" from the 2006 album "Crack" includes Chopin's Funeral March as its intro
- Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here, Sputnik Music, January 2012