Music can be so important in life and is always something to consider when organising a funeral. Music can uplift the soul even at the hardest of times. It also allows us to pause for reflection; some people prefer to choose a song to honour their loved one rather than write a personal tribute, the melody can add more meaning than simply words alone.
Some people leave their family with strict instructions on what to play during their funeral ceremony. This is always wonderful as these songs often hold special memories for family and friends and are sometimes tongue in cheek or what would have been seen in years gone by as ‘inappropriate’ for a funeral, causing eruptions of laughter amongst the tears.
Live music also works brilliantly and there are many singers and bands that offer their professional services for the ceremony. Some people have bagpipes playing or, in the case of a military funeral, a Bugler to play the Last Post. If you don’t know of any yourself, it is likely that your Funeral Director, Celebrant or a musical friend will be able to advise you.
The difficulty comes when the person arranging the funeral is really struggling for music ideas and draws a blank. People feel an immense amount of pressure to ‘get it right’, not only for the memory of their loved one but also for the friends and family attending. This can cause a huge amount of worry, especially if the person who has died did not listen to very much music and didn’t have favourite bands, composers or singers.
If Google searches and recommendations from friends are not quite fitting properly then have a look at some of my recommendations below. You might find some pieces that you might not have heard of and are new to you, as well as some well-known music.
This is just a shap shot of examples by category to give you some ideas that perhaps are not all included on the online searches. I hope you find something to inspire you to make your perfect choice. Remember that longer pieces can be faded at a certain point to fit into the ceremony.
CLASSICAL STYLE, INSTRUMENTAL;
Clair De Lune – Debussy
Serenade ‘Standchen’ – Schubert
Serenade No 10 In B Flat Major (K 361) III Adagio – Mozart
Nimrod from the Enigma Variations – Elgar
Pavane – Fauré
Air On A G String - Bach
Reverie - Debussy
‘Theme’ from Enigma Variations - Elgar
CHORAL CLASSICAL STYLE;
Lux Aterna (Nimrod for voices) – Elgar
Sleep – Eric Whitacre
Lux Aurumque – Eric Whitacre
Cantique De John Racine – Fauré
The Lord Bless You And Keep You – Rutter
The Lord Is My Shepherd - Goodall
A Gaelic Blessing – Rutter
SOLO FEMALE VOCAL;
Ave Maria - Schubert
Now We Are Free – Zimmer/Gerrard
Only A Few Things – Above and Beyond
The Blessing - Celtic Woman
The Prayer – Celtic Woman
Angel - Sarah McLachlan
How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding
Only Time – Enya
SOLO MALE VOCAL;
You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban
Bring Him Home – Alfie Bow
Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Israel 'IZ' Kamakawiwo'ole
Vincent (Starry Starry Night) – Don McLean
Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
When I Get Where I’m Going – Brad Paisley
Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Annie’s Song (You Fill Up My Senses) – John Denver
Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
DUETS AND GROUPS;
The Prayer – Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion
These Are The Days Of Our Lives – Queen
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
I’ll See You Again – Westlife
One Sweet Day - Boys II Men and Mariah Carey
In My Life – The Beatles
Circle of Life – Elton John
Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Elton John
Postcards From Heaven – The Lighthouse Family
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Three Little Birds (Don’t Worry About A Thing)– Bob Marley
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong - Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
© Ellie Lomas 2017
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Ellie is a professional Funeral, Wedding and Naming Celebrant based in Dorset.