How to decide on music for a funeral service (Part 1)

How to decide on music for a funeral service (Part 1)

Music plays a very important part of a funeral service.  It can be very emotive and it usually helps to set the tone of the ceremony.

There are no right or wrong music choices  – even if you think its not appropriate for a funeral, if it represents your loved one, then that’s all that matters.

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But deciding on song choices can be very difficult.  Often families do not know where to even start to decide on the music.

Some of the things to consider which may help make the choices easier include?

  • Do you want recorded music or Live Musicians?

Live music can include from family members, musicians, bagpipes etc….

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Some of the very talented musicians I have worked with at funerals over the years include.

Genevieve Bryant 

Connor Taylor Pianist 

Scottish Bag Piper

There are a number of other aspects to consider.  These include

  • The tone of the service.  Do you want the service to be uplifting and celebratory or more reflective as this will help determine the song choices.

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  • What style of music did your loved one enjoy?   Was music important to them? Did they enjoy music from a particular era?  Who did they like listening to?

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There are no rules and music can be played at any stage, but as a guide we usually use music during the following stages of the service.

  • Pre-ceremony – unless music was very important to your loved one, the Funeral Director or Celebrant will often have some music that can be used as background music.
  • Entrance music – usually used to signify that the service is about to start
  • Reflection music – this can be used with a slideshow of photos or quiet reflective time during the service
  • Farewell music – this piece of music can determine the mood on how you would like the service to end.


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Should you need any inspiration, I have a comprehensive list of funeral songs available as a starting point.

Fiona Garrivan Funeral Celebrant