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Funeral Music Ideas, Popular funeral songs in Australia

How To Choose Music For Your Funeral Or Memorial Service

Music is powerful and important to many people, and choosing to including music in your funeral or memorial service can help make the service particularly meaningful and personal. There are certain pieces of music that are commonly played at funerals or memorial services, such as "Amazing Grace" or Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." However, if you have a favorite song or hymn you might consider including that music in your service.

More and more, people are choosing to include less traditional music in funeral and memorial services. You can use music in your funeral to remind people of a certain time in your life, call out a particularly meaningful relationship you have, or leave people with a certain message.

If you are going to have a religious funeral or memorial service, your religious traditions may dictate the types of music or specific songs that should be included in or excluded from the service. Many congregations also have community traditions around certain songs or hymns. If there is certain music that you'd like at your service, speak to your religious leader to make sure that your selections are appropriate.

Picking songs for events and special occasions is never simple, but perhaps no music choice is more difficult than choosing funeral songs. Whether you’re choosing music for your own send off or have the difficult decision of choosing songs for a loved one’s funeral, it isn’t easy.

Some people struggle to think of a significant and meaningful song which reflects the person well, or it can also be a challenge to whittle down their favourite songs. For many people, the music is the most momentous part of a funeral service and is often what people remember most. It’s important to choose the perfect funeral songs so the deceased will always be remembered and associated with the piece of music.

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There are many different types of songs you can choose for a funeral; gone are the days when it had to be a piece of classical music or funeral hymns. Modern funerals have a huge spectrum of music, so choose whatever feels right to reflect your life or the life of a loved one.

Most funeral services have at least two slots for music – one for entering and one for the exit. There might be other opportunities to play music, such as during a slideshow of images or a moment for reflection. You won’t usually need more than three pieces of music. Here is a quick guide on music choice for funerals.

The relationship between funerals and music is incredibly powerful and can offer a sense of peace for friends and family members at a difficult time. For huge numbers of funerals — not in every faith tradition, but in many — music is typically sprinkled throughout a funeral service.

A funeral or memorial service serves a variety of purposes. It is a way for family and friends to say goodbye to a loved one. It is a ritual that provides structure and comfort during a very difficult time. It is also a way to honor the life and legacy of the person who died.

Music can support all of these purposes as part of a funeral or memorial service. What makes music so powerful is that it can serve multiple roles at once:

  • Music taps into our emotions
    Music arouses our feelings in powerful ways. It has been an important part of all known cultures throughout history, and serves an important role in our humanity. Listening to music releases chemicals and hormones and stimulates our brains. Practically, this means that music evokes emotions and can set the tone for a funeral service. It can convey feelings that words may not be able to express. Music can connect people with their grief, bring a moment of levity, uplift the spirit, or unblock feelings of sadness.
  • Music provides structure and ritual
    Familiar music connects us with the rituals we grew up with. In many religious traditions, particular songs sung at certain times provide a sense of security and comfort. Lyrics or melodies that we’ve heard over and over remind us of something that we know. The familiarity and structure provided by a song can be comforting during a time of grief.


Memorial songs and funeral hymns set the mood of our memories; they honor our loved ones’ lives; they give us something to hold on to when things get very emotional.

Here are a few funeral music samples:

Robbie Williams – Angels  – Lyrics

Frank Sinatra – My Way – Lyrics

Sarah Brightman with Andrea Bocelli – Time To Say Goodbye – Lyrics

Puff Daddy (Sean Combs) – I’ll Be Missing You – Lyrics

Eva Cassidy – Over the Rainbow – Lyrics

Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven – Lyrics

Natalie Cole – Unforgettable – Lyrics

Some other things to consider

Take the venue into account. If the memorial service is going to take place at a funeral home, you will be able to play almost any music that you like. However, if the service will be held at a religious establishment like a church, then you may be held to the traditions and restrictions of that religion. Be sure to consult with a clergy member to discuss any possible rules in regards to music.

  • Even if you can't play particular songs during a service, you may be able to play them while people are entering/exiting.

Decide if you will use recorded or live music. Though recorded music is both cheaper and easier to find, live musicians can add a more intimate touch to a service. If the funeral is taking place in a religious organization, you may also be able to utilize whatever musicians participate in regular services. For example, many churches employ choirs and guitarists.

  • If you are going through a funeral home, check with the service director for what music they have on hand. Many funeral homes have a large collection of music from varying genres.
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