Music can be a nice addition to the funeral or memorial service and can play a meaningful part of the service. You can essentially add music anywhere in the funeral program and have a number of musical selections throughout.
You can have a soloist, an instrumentalist or even a music CD perform the funeral songs. You may want to choose funeral songs that were the favorites of the deceased. Funeral songs can come in a variety of musical styles such as Classical, Religious, Blues, Jazz, Folk, Rock, and Country. So depending on the taste of music the deceased preferred, you can include funeral style music from any of these genres.
One advantage to using CD recordings is that you can choose and use the exact mood you want to project. Many of the songs are recorded in different styles and by varying artists that translate the music in their own style. For example, “Amazing Grace” can be found in almost every style from operatic to a bagpipe version.
Each style of music has appropriate funeral songs. Here is a sample of a top funeral song for each music genre for religious and non-religious songs:
Classical–“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach
Traditional Folk Songs–“Amazing Grace” probably the most played hymn at funeral and memorial services. It has been played in all styles of music and on all instruments.
Rock/Pop–“Crying in the Chapel” made popular by Elvis Presley’s version
Musicals–“Climb Every Mountain” From the Sound of Music soundtrack but have also been sung by many pop artists.
Soul/Blues–“Come Sunday” was also written by Duke Ellington and has been played by many blues artists.
Hymns–“Abide in Me” classic hymn played by many religious artists.
Gospel–Gospel is a specialty area of music that is almost exclusively African-American.The top gospel artist is the late Reverend James Cleveland, who is regarded as the father of gospel music.
Music at the funeral or memorial service can be comforting and soothing to the grieving individual. It can also invoke feelings and emotions through the lyrics and melody. Generally, the funeral service contains a musical selection in the beginning, middle and end of the service. If there is a graveside gathering, a hymn may also be sung within the ceremony.
You can also choose to have the music played or have the attendees participate in the songs. If you want to have participation, its a good idea to include the lyrics within the funeral program for those that are not famiiar with the words.