A drawing of polishing composer and pianist frederic Chopin on his deathbed.

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If you"re talk funeral music, nobody did the quite choose Frederic Chopin, the polishing composer born 200 years back Monday. Chances are, you"ve heard snippets the his music evocation that doom and gloom in cartoons, movie and, yes, funerals.

Chopin"s Funeral March very first appeared in the 1830s. It to be the third movement in his Sonata No. 2 in B-flat boy — a stunning, haunting work.

Despite the piece"s serious tone, Chopin"s above melody has been offered to embellish morbid humor for what seems like forever. Classic pianist Garrick Ohlsson hears that on his cell phone as soon as he loser a game of blackjack. It"s also appeared in various television shows and movies — amongst them Beetlejuice, Monty Python and Looney Tunes cartoons.

Parodies of funeral marches aren"t new, follow to Jeffrey Kallberg, a Chopin scholar and chair the the music department at the college of Pennsylvania. Kallberg claims they trace earlier all the means to the item that originally influenced Chopin to compose his own funeral march.

"Chopin"s in march is modeled ~ a Rossini opera, La Gazza Ladra, and that offered as the basis because that parodies," says Kallberg, that notes that one together parody was composed by Charles Gounod. "If you"re old enough to remember, the was the theme music for Alfred Hichcock"s show."

Just due to the fact that something has come to be a hoax doesn"t mean it"s trivial. In the situation of Chopin"s Funeral March, it"s much from it. Once played seriously and also in its whole by a skilled like Garrick Ohlsson, it"s a different story altogether.

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No one knows because that sure precisely what motivated Chopin to create the march. But Kallberg says there"s evidence that he associated it with the polishing uprising the the 1830s. Chopin, who was born in Poland, sympathized through his countrymen in their revolt versus the Russians. Though Chopin to be living in exile elsewhere in Europe, the feared because that his family and also friends in the face of the Russians" violent response.

"His colleagues said that he often played in salons, and also the only means to gain him to stop playing was to gain him to play the March," Kallberg says. "He was so captured up in the emotions the it."

Chopin"s very first biographer heard "the pain and grief of an entire nation" in his Funeral March, while classic pianist Gabriela Montero claims she hears Chopin"s humanity.

"A many of world have the idea the Chopin"s music is supposed to be very pristine and nearly untouchable," Montero says. "I feel the it"s so human and volcanic."

Chopin"s march has actually been play at the funerals of top of state, consisting of those of man F. Kennedy and, ironically, Russian leader Brezhnev and also Stalin. But the very an initial time it to be performed at a funeral may have been the most important: Chopin"s own.