Chopin’s ‘Funeral March’ played backwards sounds bizarrely psychedelic

9 August 2022, 17:30

Listen to Chopin's Funeral March played BACKWARDS

By Siena Linton

An alternative version of Chopin’s famously morose piano work, but less solemn and more… trippy.

The famous third movement of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.2 actually began life as a ‘Funeral March’, or ‘Marche Funèbre’. It was composed at least two years before the rest of the work, and remains one of his best known as a standalone piano piece to this day.

With a left-hand part that oscillates ominously between harmonically ambiguous B-flat and G-flat chords, it’s hard to hear anything other than the macabre tolling of a funeral bell. Add to this the low-pitched, lethargic, and melodically static dotted rhythms of the right hand, and the mood darkens further.

The piece has been played at funerals throughout history, from the renowned Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim to the memorial service for Elgar. Most notably, it was even played that graveside during Chopin’s own burial.

But what if you played it backwards…?

Read more: Beethoven’s Für Elise sounds surprisingly enchanting when ‘twisted’ upside down

A YouTuber named Cosmic Ferret has flipped it and reversed it, resulting in an oddly psychedelic take on Chopin’s devastatingly sombre work.

The dark mood of Chopin’s original is still loud and clear, but, instead of a funereal march, this version sounds more like you’ve slipped through a gap in the space-time continuum into a kaleidoscopic hellscape of sound.

Hear it in the video above, and Chopin’s original below, for reference:

BRUCE (XIAOYU) LIU – Sonata in B flat minor, Op. 35 (18th Chopin Competition, third stage)