Charles Gounod was born in Paris, the son of a pianist
mother and an artist father. His mother was his first
piano teacher. Under her tutelage, Gounod first showed
his musical talents. He entered the Paris
Conservatoire, where he studied under Fromental Halévy
and Pierre Zimmermann.
Gounod wrote "Funeral march of a marionette" as a
light-hearted piece of musical grotesquerie, a mock
funeral procession with a jaunty beat and a carefree
tune over a humorously not-slow-enough funeral march.
The music in the beginning is supposed to tell the
listener that two of the members of the Marionette
troupe have had a duel and one of them has been killed.
A party of pallbearers is organized and the procession
sets out for the cemetery in march time. The music soon
takes on a more cheerful spirit, for some of the
troupe, wearied with the march, seek consolation at a
wayside inn, where they refresh themselves and also
descant upon the many virtues of their late companion.
At last they get into place again and the procession
enters the cemetery to the march rhythm -- the whole
closing with the bars intended to reflect upon the
briefness and weariness of life, even for
The "Funeral March of a Marionette", received a new and
unexpected lease of life from 1955 when it was first
used as the theme for the television series Alfred
Hitchcock Presents. The "Funeral March of a
Marionette," slight as it is, has never lost its charm.
It was originally written as one of the movements of a
Suite Burlesque, which was never completed.
At the request of a user, I re-worked the Wind Quintet
arrangement for an upcoming amateur Clarinet Quartet
Although originally written for Piano, I created this
arrangement for Brass Quartet (Bb Trumpet, Flugelhorn,
French Horn & Euphonium).