Favourite Music for Funerals

Music is an important part of most cultures and societies. It has the power to draw people together.  Music can be calming, uplifting, rousing, moving, joyful and sorrowful.  A special song or music at a funeral can bring to mind people and moments in time, sparking precious memories and emotions. 

Finding the Right Music for a Funeral Service, Memorial Service or Celebration of Life

Finding the right music for a funeral, memorial or celebration of life can be hard.  Where to start? The lovely thing is, there are lots of options; pre-recorded or live, professional or amateur. Here are some things to consider and ideas to inspire you.

Where is the service going to be held?

The location and type of funeral may have a bearing on the choice of music.  If it is being held in a place of worship, the faith leader will need to approve your selection.  The same applies if the service is being taken by a member of the clergy in another location, for example a crematorium, although often there is more flexibility here.

If it is a civil ceremony with a celebrant, then almost anything is possible, so long as it is respectful and not offensive.

Did the person who has died make their wishes known?

Is there a letter of funeral wishes or information in the will that lists the music that the person would like?  If this is the case, it is always nice to respect their choices.  However, many people leave a list as a guide and are happy for their loved ones to edit or add to their choices.

If they left no guidance and you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas.

Top 10 songs played at funerals in 2023

According to SunLife’s Cost of Dying Report 2024, these are the 10 most popular songs played at funerals in 2023:

But, as always, times, and tastes, are changing. Whilst there was some overlap, these are the songs that people in the SunLife Report said that they would like for their own funeral:

Top 10 songs we want for our own funeral

Different Music for Different Moods

It can help to have a range of styles of music during a funeral service. Many people like to include something traditional such as a hymn or a piece of classical music. This can provide a quiet space for people to reflect on the life of the person who as died and think back over times they spent together.

If it feels appropriate, it may also be nice to include something uplifting or even amusing to raise people’s spirits and make them smile, particularly if it is a piece of music that they particularly associate with the person they are remembering.

Here are a few ideas:

Remember, choosing music and songs for a funeral is highly personal. But there is a huge range of options out there, from modern to classical, live or pre-recorded, so take your time and we hope that you find something that feels right for you and for the person you are remembering.

Listen to audio clips and find a singer or musician

Listen to more audio clips on whiteballoon’s Inspiration pages for HymnsContemporary and Classical Music

Find and connect to professional musicians on our Singers & Musicians Provider page. The funeral singers and musicians listed on whiteballoon have a wealth of experience and knowledge and will be happy to talk through your music ideas and make suggestions, so do give them a call.

You may also want to read our blog about Music for Funerals – Saying Goodbye with a Song.

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