January 23, 2019
When it comes to your wedding ceremony, you can choose to walk down the aisle to any music you like. Some people choose a pop track, others choose a classical version of a pop track and most dispense with pop tracks entirely and go for a tradition piece of wedding music to accompany them on the most exciting walk of their life.
That intro wasn’t quite true; religious songs at secular ceremonies might not be allowed depending on your venue so do check in advance. That being said, the three most traditional pieces of music that brides choose for their wedding ceremony aren’t deemed to be religious so go ahead and pick them if you’ve been wanting them for years! Below we’ll run through Pachelbel’s Canon, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and Wagner’s Here Comes the Bride.
A wedding favourite, Pachelbel’s Canon wasn’t always as popular as it is today. It was lost for centuries until it was republished in 1919 and only became a tradition wedding staple in the 1970s when the Palliard Chamber Orchestra recorded themselves playing the piece, which was then used in a number of adverts and film scores. A canon is a piece of music repeated a number of times by different ‘voices’ and in Pachelbel’s case, his Canon is the same eight bars repeated twenty-eight times. Apparently it's awful to play if you're on the cello, as this comedian recalls.
Mendelssohn’s Wedding March
Another popular tune to be played a wedding ceremony, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March is a composition that every string quartet will know. Often used as the ‘recessional’ to close the service, the fanfare that begins the Wedding March effectively introduces the married couple to the guests. Composed as part of his most famous work, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it was initially used between acts IV and V during a wedding feast. It has been used at weddings since at least 1848, though only became hugely popular from 1858, when Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, got married to Prince Frederick William of Prussia.
Wagner’s Here Comes the Bride
Richard Wagner’s Here Comes the Bride was composed as part of his opera, Lohengrin, in 1850. Officially known as the Bridal Chorus, Wagner’s piece if most often used to announce the entrance of the bride and has become a seminal – if controversial – part of traditional wedding ceremonies. Why controversial? Well for a time, the tune was associated with paganism thanks to the content of the opera, leading to the Roman Catholic church regarding it with some suspicion. Thankfully, the popularity of the piece is almost certain to outweigh any misgivings about the song’s origins these days and it’s instantly recognisable notes mean that it is one of the only orchestral pieces that can be played on a variety of different instruments.
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By Henry Fosdike