Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man  

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Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884), a composition by Alphonse Allais. It consists of nine blank measures and predates comparable works by John Cage ("4′33″") by a considerable margin.
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Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884), a composition by Alphonse Allais. It consists of nine blank measures and predates comparable works by John Cage ("4′33″") by a considerable margin.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Marche Funèbre composée pour les Funérailles d'un grand homme sourd" (1884, English: "Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man" or "Funeral March Composed for the Funeral of a Great Deaf Man") is a musical composition by Alphonse Allais. It consists of nine blank measures and predates comparable works by John Cage ("4′33″") and Erwin Schulhoff by a considerable margin.

Contents

Publication and exhibition history

The work was first exhibited in the Salon des Incohérents (1884) under the title "Marche funèbre incohérente — les grandes douleurs sont muettes" (English: "Great Sorrows Are Mute: Incoherent Funeral March"). However, when published for the first time in Album Primo-Avrilesque[1] (1897) it was titled "Marche Funèbre composée pour les Funérailles d'un grand homme sourd".

Preface

L'AUTEUR de cette Marche funèbre s'est inspiré, dans sa composition, de ce principe, accepté par tout le monde, que les grandes douleurs sont muettes.
Les grandes douleurs, étant muettes, les exécutants devront uniquement s'occuper à compter des mesures, au lieu de se livrer à ce tapage indécent qui retire tout caractère auguste aux meilleures obsèques.
“The author of this funeral march was inspired in his composition by the principle, accepted by everyone, that great pain is silent.
[And because] These great pains are silent, the performers must concern themselves solely with counting the measures, instead of indulging in that unseemly din which robs the best funerals of their noble character.”[2]

References

  • Funeral March for the Last Rites of a Deaf Man, alternative translation of the title.
  • Sometimes the piece is said to consist of 24 empty bars.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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