Funeral Music is an often overlooked aspect of many funerals and memorial services, but funeral music can have a surprisingly tremendous effect on the tone and mood of any memorial service and should be chosen with care. Planning a funeral can be a stressful, emotional experience for many people, and certain details—especially music—are often difficult to decide upon. Music is often chosen late into the funeral planning process, or even undecided on up until the service is held. Why is this? Simply put, music can have such a profound effect on our lives that choosing the right music for a funeral is a difficult task, especially due to the numerous aspects of music that need to be taken into account. The pace of the song, the mood of the song, the singer, the lyrics, and the overall emotional impact that the song could have during a funeral service all need to be considered.
First, you will have to decide when you would like to play music during your funeral. Is it something that you want playing softly in the background? Or is it going to be featured in a memorial slideshow or video presentation? Do you want the music playing while a body is being lowered into a plot, or during a certain moment of a funeral? When you want to play the funeral music will definitely impact the style of the song. It would be impractical to play loud rock music throughout an entire funeral service, and playing a softer background noise song might seem out of place during a pivotal moment of the ceremony.
Next, you’ll have to decide what kind of music and what songs you would like to have played at the funeral service. Is the music meant to be a representative of the deceased’s personality, perhaps even their favorite music? For example, playing someone’s favorite tunes in the background during the funeral, or playing their favorite song during a presentation about their life? Or perhaps the music is meant to emotionally support the grieving, such as religious music or a song which invokes the idea of wonderful memories and a peaceful death? Some people find that playing music that the deceased enjoyed is a good way to keep their personality alive during the funeral, instead of playing more generic music or music that did not suit them in life. Religious music is also a popular option, especially during key moments of the funeral itself. Other options include inspirational music, which especially suits presentations or slideshows, or music with lyrics that are meant to invoke positive memories of the deceased.
Let’s say you’ve decided upon when you want the music to play and what type of music you are looking for, but you’re not exactly sure where to start. The following are some helpful suggestions of popular or common funeral music choices:
Candle in the Wind – Elton John; Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler; Unchained Melody -Righteous Brothers; There You’ll Be – Faith Hill; My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion; Thank You – Dido; Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland
Popular religious music choices include songs like Amazing Grace and Nearer My God to Thee.
Naturally, you need not limit yourself to popular songs or popular hymns when choosing funeral music. Just remember to keep the tone of the funeral and, if possible, the personality of the deceased in mind when you are choosing music to play at a funeral service.