Music plays an important role in a funeral. It memorializes the lost loved one and comforts mourners as they say their final goodbye. Because of its significance, it is crucial that you select music that is appropriate for such a somber event. You can select the most appropriate funeral songs by keeping several important criteria in mind.
The Main Five Tips to Consider for Appropriate Funeral Songs
These five simple tips can help you select funeral songs that are right for the occasion.
Tip One: Choose Religious or Faith Appropriate Songs
When you plan the funeral services of a lost relative or friend, it is important that you form your decisions to reflect the person’s faith or religious affiliation. For example, if the deceased was a practicing Roman Catholic, you should select songs like “Ave Maria” from a Catholic hymnal or music that is deemed ecumenically suitable for a funeral Mass.
If you are not familiar with music from the person’s particular faith or religion, you may ask the funeral director for advice. Many funeral homes offer lists of songs that are suitable to use for various religious affiliations. While you may not be a fan of the music yourself, the songs that you choose will be an appropriate tribute to the person being remembered at the service.
Tip Two: Choose Songs that Reflect the Deceased’s Life
The music you select should also reflect in some way the passed relative or friend’s life. Many funeral songs touch on themes like born again faith, healing from pain, or finding a way home. Depending on the circumstances of the person’s death, you may select music that reflects the manner in which he or she passed away. You also may choose songs that highlight the way that the person lived.
For example, if your loved one found religious faith late in life, you might choose a song like “How Great Thou Art” or “Amazing Grace.” If your friend or relative was not religious or perhaps even an agnostic or atheist, you could still use secular songs like “In the Arms of an Angel” by Sarah MacLaughlin or “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John. The music you select can serve as a tribute to the person’s life and help mourners recall happier times with the deceased.
Tip Three: Select Music that Complements the Sermon or Message
If you plan on retaining a pastor, priest, or other religious figure to lead the services, you will want to select music that pairs well with his or her message or sermon. The funeral director might ask this individual to attend the funeral planning meeting with you so that you can select funeral songs together. Alternatively, the person conducting the service might tailor the sermon or message to match the songs that you picked out during the planning process.
Regardless, it is important that the songs complement this part of the funeral. A smooth transition between the sermon and music will keep mourners engaged in the services. Furthermore, it could also help them find closure or comfort.
Tip Four: Select Funeral Songs that Are Familiar
You can also help your fellow mourners find closure and comfort by selecting funeral songs that are familiar to them. Tried and true funeral songs like “Amazing Grace” or “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Other great options are newer songs like “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. Moreover, they tend to be more popular than perhaps songs like Bill Gaither’s “Going Home.”
By choosing well-known funeral songs, you provide an element of familiarity and comfort. People can cling to this feeling during the service. If they do not know the words to prayers or are perhaps too bereaved to take part in other aspects of the funeral, they may still find comfort and peace by singing along. They can even listen the songs that they have heard before and knew well. Again, as with choosing religious funeral songs, if you are not familiar with hymns or music typically used for this occasion, you can ask the funeral director for help.
Tip Five: Choose Songs that are Brief
Finally, as you plan your loved one’s final goodbye, you should select songs that are meaningful yet brief. As comforting as funeral songs can be, they also can invoke extreme emotions. These feelings appear especially in people who are having a difficult time with your shared loss. Even relatively uplifting songs like “How Great Thou Art” can remind people that their friend or relative is gone. Also, these songs help mourners say goodbye during the funeral. A lengthy song or one that has many verses to it may cause more suffering than necessary during the services.
You can choose a song that has three or four verses to it. Then, you may ask the funeral director to play only one or two of the verses. You also may select a song like “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.” It is brief but also appropriate for a funeral. Short songs also allow the pastor or service leader enough time to give the sermon or message. This way, they do not have to compete with lengthy funeral music.
To Conclude With
Thanks to technology today, more families are choosing to download their own music to be played at the funerals of friends and relatives. While many funeral homes allow this practice, others discourage it because of the risk of copyright violations. Likewise, some of the music may not be suitable to be played in faith-based services such as a Catholic Mass.
As such, when you want to choose funeral songs to honor a lost friend or relative, you may find it best to work with a professional funeral planner. Most funeral directors today have lists of songs from which you can choose. They can guide you as you decide on the most appropriate funeral songs to play for this type of occasion.