How to choose honouring and memorable music for a funeral

Music, stretching across all styles and genres, is extremely important to so many people. It’s as though we each have a unique soundtrack of our very own… the accompaniment to our lives. This means that choosing the right song or piece of music for a loved one’s funeral is a meaningful and personal part of celebrating the life they lived. It’s a poignant way to remember them and say farewell. So, when organising the music for a funeral, how many songs or pieces of music should be chosen, and which ones?

Often there are three or four moments where music is played at a funeral. Firstly, music is played as people and/or the coffin are entering the chapel or funeral venue. Secondly, music is played during a photo slideshow, which adds a touching setting for the photos being shown. 

Finally, as the coffin is carried out of the service and afterwards as people pay their respects and make their way out, music is played in the background. Sometimes, in addition to these, there is a time of reflection during the service where music is quietly played in the background.

Which pieces of music will depend upon your loved one and the kind of music they liked. If they had a particular favourite piece of music or song, or a certain style of music they liked best, this will be a wonderful way to make the funeral unique to them and celebrate what they loved. Perhaps they loved classical music, jazz, or rock and roll? Perhaps they were a fan of Elvis or Frank Sinatra or Coldplay? Including music by a favourite artist is a great way to personalise the service.

Some recent music chosen include:

  • The Flower Duet by Delibes
  • Ave Maria
  • The Slea Head Cliffs by Randy Edelman
  • Ladies in Lavender (film main theme) 
  • Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
  • It’s a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban

For a photo slideshow of around 70 photos, about five minutes of music will be needed. Have a look at our blog ‘How to Create a Beautiful Slideshow’ for more details around this.

Another consideration is whether hymns are to be sung by the congregation during the service. Was there a favourite hymn or worship song your loved one would wish to be sung? Here are some well-known hymns/songs:

  • Amazing Grace (traditional version or Chris Tomlin’s more contemporary version)
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Blessed Assurance
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness
  • The Lord is My Shepherd
  • In Christ Alone
  • Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Something to think on and talk to the funeral director about, is if the church has a musician available to play and lead these hymns, or whether it will be played from downloaded music. Speak to one of the experienced team members at Living Hope Funerals for more details or if you would like help choosing some music of finding a musician.

Image by Freepik

Scroll to Top

Get in touch