Significant rests determine character

 

Significant Rests determine Wedding or Funeral. Does a composer write rests into his music or not? If he does, the rests have a very specific function. They add lightness or breathing space into the music. We would expect a lack of rests in a funeral march due to its somber nature.  On the other hand, we would expect rests in a Bridal Chorus. On the basic level: A funeral is a sad and heavy occasion = few, if any rests.  A wedding is lighter and definitely joyful. We would expect quite a number of rests. Significant rests, and other factors determine the difference. One of the most tradition funeral marches was written by Chopin. While, the most traditional wedding march for the processional was written by Wagner.

Frédéric Chopin‘s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B minor, Op. 35, popularly known as the Funeral March, was completed in 1839 at Nohant, near Châteauroux in France. However, the third movement, whence comes the sonata’s common nickname, had been composed as early as 1837.  It was played at the graveside during Chopin’s own burial at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.[2]

significant rests - Chopin knew when and when not to use them
Everything Chopin notated in the music displays knowledge and genius.

Wagner wrote a bridal chorus in Lohengrin. It uses a similar opening rhythm to Chopin’s Funeral March.  The basic pattern of Chopin‘s motif is  (1) quarter note, (2) dotted eighth, followed by (3) a 16th note, and another (quarter note). However, the musical motif of Wagner‘s wedding march lightens the mood with two rests. They are the 8th and 16th note rests in the featured picture. I suggest the pianist observe these rules when playing for either occasion:

  • When performing the wedding march, release the damper pedal during the rests. This pedal adds heaviness to the music and the occasion. Rather, let the rests come through and punctuate the melody.
  • Conversely, when playing the funeral march plenty of damper pedal is just fine.

Yes, I am available as a pianist for all occasions.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>