Songs to Play at a Memorial Service

3 August 2020

Funeral songs can range from a simple recording to a live choir and stringed-ensemble performance. Funeral songs are typically played during the entrance or the exit of the casket, or in between funeral speeches or readings.

Why use music at a funeral?

Funeral music, according to Dr. Alan Wolfelt, is used in a number of ways:

  • It imprints on our heart more than any other experience.

  • It helps recall memories of that person.

  • It provides more than just words which can often feel inadequate.

  • It adds weight to the importance of the ceremony.

For mourners, funeral music can be healing, and calm anxiety. Harvard Health says music therapy helps relieve depression and decreases the perception of pain.

Music As A Therapy Relieves Depression

Tips for choosing the right funeral songs

If you are a funeral program planner or if you have been assigned to choose the songs for a funeral, here are our top tips to guide you.

Consider their favorite songs

There is no need to stick to the kinds of traditional songs typically played at funerals unless you are conducting the service at a church. You can include songs that your loved one enjoyed or often listened to during their lifetime.

Ask family and friends for songs that remind them of the person

Songs tell stories and deliver messages. Ask family and friends to suggest songs with lyrics that reflect the life, role, and personality of your loved one. Ask yourself: if this person’s life had a theme song, what would it be?

Consider the theme of the service

If you have chosen a theme for the funeral or memorial service, pick songs that correspond to that theme. If it has religious themes, for example, you can consider relevant songs for Christian funeral music, Catholic funeral hymns and songs or gospel music.

Consider who will perform at the memorial service

While you can play a recording, there is another option: you can ask family or friends to perform live, or hire professional musicians. You can hire a choir, a band, or a soloist to perform at the funeral. If you plan to play a recording, organize your playlist and check with the venue if they have audio equipment available for your use. Otherwise, you may need to bring your own music player and speakers.

Still can’t decide on funeral music? We have provided a few lists below for you to choose from.

Popular funeral songs

  • Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli - Time to Say Goodbye

  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole

  • Angels - Robbie Williams

  • Canon in D - Pachelbel

  • You Raise Me Up - Westlife

  • My Way - Frank Sinatra

  • Over the Rainbow - Eva Cassidy

  • Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton

Funeral songs for Dad

  • You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban

  • Thank you for being my Dad - Jon Barker

  • Dance with my Father - Luther Vandross

  • Hero - Mariah Carey

  • The living years - Mike and The Mechanics

  • A song for my Dad

  • Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

  • Father and Daughters

Funeral songs for Mum

  • A song for Mama - Boyz 2 Men

  • Goodbye (The Saddest Word) - Céline Dion

  • Mama's song - Carrie Underwood

  • Wind beneath my wings - Bette Midler

  • Time to say goodbye - Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

  • Mama liked the roses - Elvis Presley

  • The Best Day - Taylor Swift

  • Mama - Il Divo

Create An Online Memorial