Tempo: Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt. (Funeral March. In measured tread, austere, like a funeral cortège.)
Key: C-sharp minor (modulating to A-flat, then to B-flat minor for the first trio, D-flat major and then A minor for the second trio, etc.)
Time Signature: 2/2
Rhythm: funeral march.
Form: ABABA in the manner of a scherzo movement with two trios. [N.B., Edward Murphy considers the musical material for the trio sections to be too heavy and too frenetic to be considered trios in the traditional sense, especially since the climax of the movement occurs during one of them. Moreover, application of the term Ascherzo to the calmer, more melodious music of the funeral march is equally inappropriate. However, given Mahler’s retention of traditional formal frameworks within which he makes radical departures for classical principles, the use of such terms as Ascherzo and Atrio for the first movement is not necessarily inappropriate.