What funeral songs to play at a memorial service

11 September 2017 • Planning advice

Choosing funeral songs for your service

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

The uses of music in funerals

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

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

2. Helps recall memories of that person.

3. Provides more than just words which can often by inadequate

4. Adds weight to the importance of the ceremony

For mourners, funeral music can heal and calms anxiety. Harvard Health says music therapy helps relieve depression and decreases perception of pain. 

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 the funeral, here are tips to guide you:

Consider their favorite songs.

There is no need to stick to traditional songs played at funerals, unless you are conducting the service at the 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 the 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 also another option of asking family or friends to perform live or hiring 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 an audio equipment that’s available for 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 

1. Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli - Time to Say Goodbye, 

2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole

3. Angels - Robbie Williams

4. Canon in D - Pachelbel

5. You Raise Me Up - Westlife

6. My Way - Frank Sinatra

7. Over the Rainbow - Eva Cassidy

8. Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton,

Funeral songs for Dad

1. You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban

2. Thank you for being my Dad - Jon Barker

3. Dance with my Father - Luther Vandross

4. Hero - Mariah Carey

5. The living years - Mike and The Mechanics

6. A song for my Dad

7. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

8. Father and Daughters

Funeral songs for Mum

1. A song for Mama - Boyz 2 Men

2. Goodbye (The Saddest Word) - Céline Dion

3. Mama's song - Carrie Underwood

 

4.  Wind beneath my wings - Bette Midler

5. Time to say goodbye - Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

6. Mama liked the roses - Elvis Presley

7. The Best Day - Taylor Swift 

8. Mama - Il Divo

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