Funeral Music - Classical - Instrumental, Choral and Vocal
Lesley writing here: We have
recommended other types of funeral music on other pages, either
traditional hymns or popular songs. The links are at the bottom of
this page. Quite often pieces of classical music are played as
people are arriving or leaving the funeral service, and a piece of
classical music that the deceased loved one enjoyed might be played
during the service. If you are lucky enough to have an organist or
even a choir, there is a much larger range of music you can choose
See my suggestions below. . .
I studied music when I was younger and
sang in lots of choirs in London. We often sang at funerals and
there are many wonderful choral works that would be really suitable
for a farewell service or memorial. Even if you don't have a choir,
you could still play some of these pieces on a CD player or music
When my father died, I decided I'd like
to try and sing something. I wasn't sure I'd manage it, as the voice
is the first thing to go when you are stressed and emotional. So I
chose a piece that I had sung in a recording. Coincidentally, Dad
had put this CD on only 3 months before he died while I was at their
house for Christmas. I was singing along with him in the house. So
I had sung it for him so recently. When the service happened, we put
the CD on the sound system, but in the event, I somehow managed to
sing along with it. I'm so glad I did. The piece was In Paradisum by Faure
from his Requiem.
Don't forget though, that whatever piece you
choose will forever be linked in your mind to that day when you
buried or cremated your loved one.
It is amazing how many times I've
gone into a restaurant since and heard that piece. We were in Bali,
in a beautiful outdoor restaurant celebrating my 50th
birthday and my brother's birthday in the same week, when the piece
came over the sound system. We were immediately in tears, and our
poor Balinese friend who was with us was quite alarmed until we
explained why. But it was a lovely way to remember Dad and imagine
he was there celebrating with us. Mind you, the Faure Requiem tended
to have me in tears even before I'd sung it at Dad's funeral!
I've put together some ideas below of
suitable funeral music, but try to choose something personal to the
loved one, and your family. This is your loved one's special day.
What would he or she have wanted? What was his or her taste in
music? What was your own special tune? My nephew played “Somewhere
over the Rainbow” on his saxophone and my brother and partner sang too.
My Dad would have been so proud of us all.
Only you can choose your loved one's
favourite music. Do it for them.
Here are a few ideas that I have got
together for you.
Funeral Music –
These are pieces which are ideal for arrival or departure music for funeral or memorial services. Some are suitable to be played by an organist, others will be better played on a CD. (See below for choral and vocal music)
- Albinoni: Adagio
- Bach: Prelude no. 1
- Bach: Adagio from Toccata and Fugue in
- Bach: Sheep may safely graze
- Bach: Jesu, joy of man's desiring
- Barber: Adagio for strings (played at
Debussy: Clair de Lune
- Dvorak: Symphony no. 9 – Largo
- Elgar: Nimrod from Enigma Variations
- Gluck: Dance of the Blessed Spirits
- Handel: Air from Water Music
- Mozart: Piano Concerto no. 21 “Elvira
- Pachelbel: Canon in D Major
- Ravel: Pavane pour une Infante Defunte
- Saint-Saens: The Swan from Carnival of
- Satie: Gymnopedie No. 1
- Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
- Vivaldi: Four Seasons
Listen to examples of Funeral Music on Amazon Unlimited
Funeral Music - Choral or Vocal for a Choir, Soloist or to play on CD
- Bach: St John's Passion – Ruht Wohl
- Brahms: How lovely are thy dwellings
fair (A German Requiem)
- Byrd: Ave Verum Corpus
- Byrd: Mass for Four voices – Agnus
- Durufle: Requiem – Pie jesu
- Faure: Requiem – Pie Jesu,
- Faure: Requiem - In Paradisum
- Faure: Requiem - Requiem Aeternum
- Franck: Panis angelicus
- Mendelssohn: I waited for the Lord
- Mendelssohn: Oh for the Wings of a Dove
- Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus
- Mozart: Requiem – Lacrimosa
- Puccini: O mio bambino caro (oh my
- Purcell: Dido's Lament (When I am laid
- John Rutter: Requiem – Pie Jesu
- Schubert: Ave Maria – (Sung at JFK's
- Sir John Tavener: Song for Athene
(played at Lady Diana's funeral)
- Wesley: Thou wilt keep him in perfect
Check out lots more ideas and listen to samples here
Get lots more advice on planning a funeral here
How to Stay Calm at a Funeral
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