Music and songs to personalise a funeral service - White Rose Modern Funerals (2024)

Pre-recorded and live music for a funeral service

The songs played at a funeral service are just as important as the words that are spoken, as the music creates a mood and reflects the personality of your loved one.

These days you have a virtually unlimited selection of music to choose from. Most crematoria provide access to a vast searchable library of commercially released music tracks using a specialist online service such as Obitus or Wesley. The music is played digitally through the sound system in the chapel.

If you would prefer to have live music, it is also possible to source musicians, including singers, soloists and groups. Sometimes a family member or friend may also be able perform.

What type of music is suitable for a funeral service?

Some families opt for traditional hymns, whereas others prefer more contemporary music tracks – or you can mix it up. There are no rules and the more personal the choices, the better.

The structure of a funeral service normally includes specific pieces being played during certain parts of the service.

Typically the first piece of music is played as mourners enter the chapel or when the coffin is carried in (referred to as ‘entrance music’).

During the service there is often a time set aside for personal reflection, during which time music can be played if you wish.

After the committal when the service concludes, a piece of music is often played as the mourners leave (referred to as ‘exit music’).

Classical music and hymns are more traditional choices, inspiring calm, grandeur and reflective thinking. Popular music often chosen for a more contemporary feel, reflecting the musical tastes of the person whose life you are celebrating.

How to choose songs for a funeral service

You need to create a structure for the service, which is often something that a celebrant or minister can help you do. You can then choose specific pieces of music to be added to the order of service.

For example, you may prefer to have more mellow or instrumental music for the moment of reflection and something more uplifting for the end of the service.

Choral backed hymn accompaniments are available that make it easy for people to sing along.

There is nothing stopping you from choosing songs that may in the past have been viewed as a little irreverent – for example Monty Python’s ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ is one popular choice. Often this type of music may be suitable for when people are leaving the chapel at the end of the service.

Finding ideas for funeral songs

Unless the person who has died expressed a particular wish for specific music, a quick look through their music collection is a good starting point.

At White Rose Modern Funerals, we can assist with finding ideas and sourcing the music to personalise the funeral service.

To give you some ideas of the types of music suitable for a funeral service, we have created these lists of popular funeral song choices, from hymns and classical music to more contemporary songs.

White Rose Modern Funerals funeral directors based in Twickenham and Teddington can help organise music as part of a funeral service, whether live or pre-recorded. We also work with experienced celebrants and ministers who will assist with the structure of the order of service. Music can be played at a No Fuss Pre-10am Cremation Service, a Personalised Full Service Funeral or Burial.

Music and songs to personalise a funeral service - White Rose Modern Funerals (2024)


What is the most played song at a funeral? ›

Here are some of the most popular funeral songs:
  • My Way – Frank Sinatra.
  • Angels – Robbie Williams.
  • The Best – Tina Turner.
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler.
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle (Monty Python's 'Life of Brian')
  • Time to Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli.

What is a cheerful song to end a funeral? ›

1: What a Wonderful World– Louis Armstrong

One song particularly embodies what a “happy funeral song” sounds like to most people.

What is a modern day song for a funeral? ›

Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler. We'll Meet Again – Vera Lynn. Time To Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.

What is the saddest song to play at a funeral? ›

Sad funeral songs
  • I'll See You Again – Westlife.
  • Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy.
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler.
  • Nothing Compares to You – Sinead O'Connor.
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd.
Jun 20, 2023

What is the number one song requested at funerals? ›

Amazing Grace has been a popular choice for funeral music for many years. The song has been covered by hundreds of artists over the years.

What is a good entrance song for a funeral? ›

Music for Funerals Entrance. The entrance music sets the tone for the ceremony, evoking emotions of reverence and respect. Popular choices often include classical pieces like "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber or "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert.

What is the best song to say goodbye? ›

The 13 Most Popular Funeral Songs for a Special Goodbye
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
  • Wake Me Up When September Ends.
  • Wasn't Expecting That.
  • Fix You.
  • I Will Follow You into the Dark.
  • Waves.
  • My Heart Will Go On.
  • Supermarket Flowers.

What is the song for the celebration of life? ›

"I've Had the Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. This is a timeless classic that encourages us to cherish the time spent with loved ones. Its uplifting chorus, "I've had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you," is perfect when paired with moments of celebration and gratitude.

What is a good song for a loved one who passed away? ›

Here are some of the most recommended sad songs for grief: Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven. Sarah Mclachlan - In The Arms of an Angel. The Beatles - Let It Be.

What is a beautiful funeral song? ›

Ave Maria, Celine Dion

The melody is equally beautiful and heartbreaking, touching the heart of each and every listener. Ave Maria is one of the most popular prayer songs, but it's perfect for any kind of funeral service.

What is the cheerful hymn for a funeral? ›

Happy and uplifting hymns for a funeral include:

All Things Bright and Beautiful. Morning Has Broken. Lord of the Dance. Shine Jesus Shine.

What is a reflection song at a funeral? ›

Reflection Music for Funerals

Feelings of grief are very common after someone passes away and a reflective piece of music can put words to some of those feelings.

What is the classic song always played at funerals? ›

A timeless classic that's recognized and loved by countless people, Ave Maria might be the most popular classical song for funerals. Many believe it's the perfect piece for honoring loved ones, as it's an adaptation of the traditional Roman Catholic prayer.

What is the music at the end of a funeral called? ›

After the committal when the service concludes, a piece of music is often played as the mourners leave (referred to as 'exit music').

What is the most popular funeral hymn? ›

Many people find comfort in including religious songs in their loved one's service and certain hymns have remained the most appropriate funeral song choices over the years.
  • Be Not Afraid. ...
  • Lord Of All Hopefulness. ...
  • Nearer My God To Thee. ...
  • I Am The Bread Of Life. ...
  • Love Devine. ...
  • The King Of Love My Shepherd Is. ...
  • Lead, Kindly Light.

What is the most played religious song at a funeral? ›

1. Amazing Grace. A funeral staple, this classic hymn beautifully expresses the heart of the Gospel – God's gift of salvation by grace alone. The timeless lyrics remind mourners of the hope found in Christ even in the darkest times of grief and loss.

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