At any event, music sets a mood, encourages emotion and welcomes guests. A funeral is no different. During a funeral, music provides a background that invites mourners to mingle and comfort each other.
Ideally, musical selections should:
- Help mourners acknowledge the reality of the death.
- Provide an interlude to embrace the sadness.
- Be meaningful to the deceased.
- Enhance the meaning of life and death.
Today, funerals are not limited to organ music. It’s not unusual for a guitar, flute, violin or other musical instrument to be selected. The deceased’s favorite songs are sometimes sung by professional singers, friends or relatives.
See Choosing a Funeral Singer for pointers on selecting someone to sing at a funeral.
Ideas for Funeral Music Selections
If you are selecting music for a loved one’s service, or your own, you may want music that reflects a particular ethnic background, religious belief or favorite artist. However, it’s smart to listen to lyrics carefully beforehand to be sure they are appropriate. The favorite song one sings in the shower or as a lullaby may carry a note of irony in the context of a funeral.
While it’s rare to play “happy” music at a funeral, it’s now common to hear a list of the deceased favorites, which may include modern or classic rock tunes, Broadway melodies, sentimental songs, or country western tunes. Creating a musical collection, which represents the individual means more to friends and family members than the standard funeral tunes.
Our suggestions for funeral music are organized by type in the sections above.