Funeral music: 3 classics

lumber jills

Today I’m looking for funeral music: 3 classics to work into a fairly traditional ceremony to celebrate the life of a grand dame.

Nothing too dramatic. Something soft. (We’re Scottish after all, so easy on the romance.)

This is a tribute for a private, caring, quiet soul.

A granny that did the fire watch during the war.

A woman who was there for her family first and foremost.

A woman who would have loved an education.

Smart and inspiring, she didn’t get her chance but made sure the women in her family did.

97 this week, she would have been. Amazing. A whole team of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in her wake.

Picking  funeral music

So we’re looking for 3 classics. The basic structure of a traditional funeral goes like this:

  1. Arrival
  2. Introduction
  3. Tribute
  4. Committal
  5. Exit

The 3 funeral music classics will go with the entrance of family and friends, the committal (when the coffin and the body ‘leave us’ – usually by moving out of sight), and finally, our departure from the room (when we leave with the memories and spirit of the person).

listen | download

Element of ceremony Artist/ composer Title
Arrival Satie Gnossienne no.1
Committal Chopin Nocturne #13
Fauré Requiem: In Paradisum
Beethoven Piano Sonato no.28
Pachelbel Canon
Noah&Whale Our Window*
Exit Jarre Lara’s Theme

I originally thought of Faure’s Requieum 48 in as the exit then one of the grandchildren remembered how much her papa loved Lara’s Theme from the huge 60s film, Dr Zhivago and since the family wanted this to be a celebration of her life and the life their gran and grandpa shared together, we’ve finished with this. What an evocative sound. Flashback to 60s dances, radio, TV big bands. Guarantee you’ll recognise it. Lara’s Theme has become the best known movie theme of all time. Lyrics were added for Connie Francis. Ray Conniff and Andy Williams sang it as Somewhere My Love. All the big band leaders played it – James Last, jazzer Acker Bilk.

I’ve put a few options for the committal. Important to get it right.
*This contemporary track works perfectly to 1 minute 9 seconds.

Music isn’t everyone’s thing

The interesting and unusual thing for me in this challenge has been recognising that funeral music isn’t that big a deal for everyone. Carol’s daughters aren’t that fussed about music. They were happy for us to choose 3 classics. That surprised me because music is such a big part in my life. How odd I didn’t see that maybe funeral music remains the no. 1 reasons people visit Final Fling because people really are looking for ideas for funeral music or an arbiter of taste. It somehow hadn’t occurred to me that that might reflect a lack of interest in music just as much as it might reflect an interest in music.

So the classics – centuries old and contemporary – hit the spot on these occasions. Well kent, fond memories, communally owned. Lovely.

If you have funeral music ideas, please, do add them to your Funeral Wishes or you may leave others floundering.

For all of our Top 10 funeral music lists – Final Fling’s classical, hymn, gospel, Flingers’ faves and popular – get this handy list.

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