Music for Funerals


Music can have such an impact upon the way we feel

The music that you choose for a loved one's funeral ceremony can make quite a difference.

Choosing the right music for a funeral ceremony can make it feel much more fitting, personal, and bearable. And it might even raise a smile, as well as cause tears.

One funeral that we organised began with 'Whole Lotta Rosie' by AC/DC being blasted out at max volume. Not something that will feel right for many but, I believe, absolutely spot on for the lady who had passed away - the track (and being played loudly) was linked to many happy times she had shared with her mates.

Contrast that with the melodic 'Time to say goodbye (Con te partiro)' sung by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli, a piece quite often chosen by families to conclude a ceremony. Or 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra. And even 'Always look on the bright side of life' by Monty Python. Very different pieces of music, probably provoking very different feelings.

There are infinite possibilities. At the end of this blog we have listed just a few tracks which may give you some food for thought and, at least, we hope, help you to think about what might be appropriate for your loved one and the type of funeral mood that you are trying to create. Of course, funerals are predominantly sad occasions but the music that you choose for someone's funeral can really lift that mood by triggering happy memories.

As well as recorded music, you might want to consider how live music could feature in your loved one's funeral. We've arranged funerals that have included everything from lone pipers to, effectively, a small gig with three professional bands performing. And on a number of occasions a family member, or close friend, has played or sung, although I wouldn't want to underestimate how emotionally challenging this can be.

The important thing about funeral music is to not feel constrained by any notion of what is or isn't appropriate for your loved one. If you don't know what is, who does?

The music below is listed under three genres: popular, classic and hymns. Other than that, it is quite randomly arranged. None of these tracks may feel right for you but hopefully, if not, they will trigger some thoughts about alternatives that do feel right.

Popular genre Three Little Birds - Bob Marley; You'll never walk alone - various artists; Dance with my Father - Luther Vandross; Supermarket Flowers - Ed Sheeran; Dancing in the Sky - Dani and Lizzy; Bring me Sunshine - Morecambe and Wise; I will always love you - Whitney Houston; Angels - Robbie Williams; Unforgettable - Nat King Cole; Lay me down - Sam Smith; How long will I love you - Ellie Goulding; My way - Frank Sinatra; Candle in the Wind - Elton John; Heaven's now my home - Libby Allen; Somewhere over the Rainbow - Eva Cassidy; Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen; The Wonder of You - Elvis Presley; See you again - Wiz Khalifa; Hi Ho Silver Lining - Jeff Beck; We'll meet again- Vera Lynn; Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks; Fields of Gold - Sting; Unchained melody - Righteous Brothers; Every Time I say Goodbye - Ella Fitzgerald; Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison; You Raise Me Up - Westlife; Morning has Broken - Cat Stevens; Last of the Summer Wine theme; Annie's Song - John Denver; This is my Life - Shirley Bassey; Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf; What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong; Mull of Kintyre - various artists; Match of the Day theme; Snooker theme (Drag Racer); Formula 1 theme (The Chain) - Fleetwood Mac; My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion; Simply the Best - Tina Turner.

Classic Pastoral Symphony - Beethoven; Lark Ascending - Vaughn Williams; Nimrod - Elgar; Morning (from Peer Gynt) - Grieg; Spring (from Four Seasons) - Vivaldi; Adagio for strings - Barber; Canon in D - Pachelbel; Ave Maria - Schubert; Adagio in G Minor - Albinoni; Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni.

Hymns Amazing Grace; All things bright and beautiful; The Lord's my Shepherd; How Great Thou Art; Abide with me; Jerusalem; The Old Rugged Cross.

A large number of crematoria use an audio/visual company called Wesley Media to provide the music for their chapels. People arranging a funeral at one of these crematoria can get further ideas by searching for music on the Wesley Media website: Locally, the following crematoria use the Wesley system: Chesterfield; Doncaster (Rose Hill); City Road, Sheffield; Hutcliffe Wood, Sheffield; Grenoside; Rotherham.

John Mallatratt, Peace Funerals

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