Significant rests determine character

Significant Rests Determine Wedding or Funeral


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.



Dance of the Zodiac Combines Modern, Jazz and Ballet

Dance of the Zodiac  is a companion to my upcoming book, Music Under the Zodiac. My fascination with the zodiac goes back to my high school days. I went to Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan. There, I majored in vocational music. This incredible school had some 30 areas of major. All were college prep. They even had an airplane in a workshop on the first floor. This was for future aeronautic engineers.

The Person that Initially  Inspired Me to Write the Dance

One of my good friends at Cass Tech High School was Keith Edwards. He loved the Planets by Gustav Holst. So much- that the score to the Planets was always tucked under his arm. During lunch break we would examine the music together. Boy, was I lucky! That started me on a lifetime of connecting music and the zodiac. The zodiac can be used as 12 filters to help you interpret music. I personally do not use it to predict the future.

Background of the Premiere of the Dance of the Zodiac

The performance of the ballet commemorated National Dance Week. It was done on the Players Theater stage in Sarasota, Florida. Thirteen dancers participated from the Florida Ballet Arts Ensemble.  The jazz and modern choreography was done by Sistie Fairweather. The ballet part was staged by Lynn Winslow. Each did 6 dances. They split the introduction and finale. Distinguished dancers included:

  • Wendy Rothenbach who performed at the American Dance Festival.
  • Doug Turner with the Houston Ballet.
  • David Zimbardi, a theater major from Manatee who  did the water signs of Scorpio and Cancer.

I have had a long association with dance companies. I worked for the Florida Ballet Arts School for years. I also have worked as a rehearsal pianist for:

  • The Pittsburgh Ballet
  • The Houston Ballet
  • Ceilia Franca of the Canadian National Ballet
  • I also accompanied Eddy Toussaint’s classes in Sarasota.  He  founded the Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal and The Ballet de Montreal as well was the artistic director of The Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Ballet Eddy Tousaint and The National Ballet of Moravia-Silaisia (Czech Republic).He’s also a recipient of the Golv Medal for choreography at the Helsinki International Competition.He has choreographed more than 100 ballets worldwide. Ballet
  • I accompanied ballroom dancing in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Sharon and wrote have an new and original  ballroom dancing CD available on the products page endorsed by major dancing studios around the country. Check out our products page on It has 15 feature dances with seven 90 second cuts for competitions. Champion ballroom dancers performed to our Argentine tango on national television.

Lynn Winslow’s distinguished Background

Lynn Winslow has appeared on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera. She was a member of the faculty of Wellesley College and Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts. She holds a Licentiate Degree from the Imperial Society of Teachers in London, England.

Contact me if you are interested in The Dance of the Zodiac through

The Dance of the Zodiac is perfect for companies and schools of dance. Dancers often argue over doing their own zodiac signs. What fun! I hope to place both the music and the book on the products page of  in the near future. Please keep checking. I am available after March 27, 2016 if anyone is interested. My contract at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande expires at that time. Feel free to introduce yourself. There, I play their two vintage Steinway grand pianos for the benefit of their distinguished guests 6 days weekly. See upcoming events on for description.