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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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