Funeral music

Are you struggling to figure out what songs you want played at your funeral or the funeral of a loved one? Take some inspiration from our list below. We have classical funeral music ideas, modern, uplifting songs and much more.

What music do they play at funerals?

For many years, hymns and classical overtures have been the music traditionally played at a funeral. Barber's Adagio for Strings is one of the most popular, as is the classic hymn Abide with Me.

But in recent times, more contemporary music has risen sharply in popularity and now there is no norm with regards to funeral music, especially as people opt for more intimate, personal and simple funerals or direct cremations.

You can have anything from Led Zeppelin to Britney Spears. Elvis Presley to Beyonce. The choice is completely yours and your family's. To help you choose, below are 25 examples of popular funeral music.

Classical music for funerals

For centuries, classical music has been the norm at funerals and with hundreds of years worth of music to choose from, the music library is vast.

It's not to understand why, there's little that can move us emotionally quite the way that classical music can. Whether we're looking for something uplifting or downbeat, classical is the perfect musical accompaniment for a funeral.

  1. Jerusalem – Sir Hurbert Parry.
    A classic British hymn, Jerusalem is a favourite at many prom nights and at England cricket matches
  2. 1812 Overture (conclusion) – Tchaikovsky
    The most famous piece by the great Russian composer, the song is a common accompaniment to fireworks across the world
  3. Adagio for Strings - Barber
    Adagio for Strings is an emotional tune which has often been the cause of leaving "rarely leaving a dry eye" in the house
  4. Greensleeves – Mantovani
    A traditional English folk song, Greensleeves is also the standard chime for many ice cream vans in the UK
  5. Nimrod - Elgar
    Nimrod is a common song to be played at funerals, and is always played at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Day

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Modern funeral music

The beauty about funerals in the modern age is that they can be personalised in whatever way you and your family like. Therefore, the song and hymns that are played at a funeral don't have to fit any standard, they can be whatever you choose.

Whether that's Wiz Khalifa, Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams or something very leftfield like The Prodigy, your funeral music choice is completely yours.

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  1. Supermarket Flowers - Ed Sheeran
    Sheeran's 2017 song about his late grandmother has already become one of the most played songs at a funeral
  2. See you again - Wiz Khalifa
    A tribute to the late Paul Walker, Khalifa's 2015 emotional megahit is one of the most streamed songs of all time
  3. Someone Like You - Adele
    Adele is known for her solemn, heart wrenching, tearjerkers, and 2011's Someone Like You is no exception
  4. Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
    The American rock bands 2005 hit was a symbolic song after Hurricane Katrina and was dedicated to the victims of 9/11
  5. Shallow - Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
    The power ballad from 2018's film A Star is Born is a song about heartache which ends with an intense climax

Uplifting funeral exit music

Funeral music doesn't always have to be downbeat. For some, there is no better way to say goodbye than doing so with a big smile on your face.

And there are plenty of songs out there that can do that. Here is a selection of the most popular uplifting funeral exit music.

  1. Three Little Birds - Bob Marley and the Wailers
    Bob Marley's megahit from 1980 has been an anthem for over 40 years, and will continue to be so for decades to come
  2. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Monty Python
    Monty Python's cheery upbeat tune from 1979 is a jig that can't help but bring a smile to your face
  3. Don't Worry. Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
    The song will be relevant "as long as humans speak English and play music" one critic said at the time. And he's probably right
  4. My Way - Frank Sinatra
    One of the most popular funeral songs of all time, the iconic song is popularly associated with nostalgia and individuality
  5. I've Had The Time of my Life - Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
    A song with huge emotional depth, this 1987 song is half-tearjerker, half-uplifter, and is a perfect funeral music choice

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Other helpful articles

Looking for more? Below are a few further articles that you may be interested in.

Funeral hymns

Funeral hymns

You don't have to be religious to enjoy a hymn. Hymns have a special place in many of our hearts and can fit a funeral perfectly.

Funeral hymn ideas

Funeral poems

Funeral poems

Not everyone likes to have a poem at their funeral, but a poem can unlock the heart in a way few things can. Here are a few ideas.

Funeral poem ideas

Funeral readings

Funeral readings

Most funerals will have some space for readings and eulogies dotted throughout. Here are some examples that you can take inspiration from.

Funeral readings

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