A Guide to Classic Funeral Songs: MustHaveClassicalMusic

A Guide to Classic Funeral Songs

The relationship between music and funerals is incredibly powerful and can offer a sense of peace for family members and friends at a difficult time. Music is usually played throughout a funeral service at a huge number of funerals.

Funeral hymns and memorial songs set the mood for our memories, they give us something to hold on to when things get sentimental, and they honor the lives of our loved ones. 

A ceremony to honor a loved one who has passed away is incomplete without a funeral song. Funeral songs are able to express the feelings we aren’t able to articulate at the moment. They can help us begin healing and they can convey our deepest sorrow. Some of the best funeral songs help us celebrate the extraordinary life that our loved one had led. 

Whether you’re planning a celebration of life ceremony, a memorial service, or a funeral, we are confident that a classic funeral song will be the right choice.

Best Classic Funeral Songs

Choosing the right piece of music for a funeral can be a challenging task, but the right piece can bring calm and peace at a time when it’s especially needed. Following are some classic funeral songs to play at celebrations of life and funerals.

Funerals are usually events that are emotional to plan, and choosing the music that represents all the messages and feelings we want to convey can be stressful and overwhelming, which is why we want to help.

You can always go with the more conventional path and choose a classic piece like Ave Maria by Schubert, which is the perfect piece of music to remember a loved one. Shubert’s tune is both uplifting and calming, an adaptation of the traditional Roman Catholic prayer.

Another classic composition for funerals is The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. A lovely piece of music that never fails to induce goosebumps in whoever is listening to it. It’s about the rising and falling of a bird in flight, and it’s very popular for the solo violin. In sadness, it’s a wonderful piece of music, and in happiness, it emulates freedom and joy, so it has a remarkable skill to mirror your mood. 

Adagio for Strings by Barber has been used to mark many important moments. This piece of music has been played at the funerals of Princess Grace of Monaco and Albert Einstein, and was also broadcast in memory of US presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, as well as Princess Diana.

However, today we’ll offer some other alternatives when it comes to funeral songs, so make sure you continue reading!

1. 50 Must-Have Adagio Masterpieces

50 Must-Have Adagio Masterpieces was released in 2013 by various artists. It consists of some of the following famous songs:

  • Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27: No. 2, "Moonlight Sonata": I. Adagio Sostenuto by Istvan Szekely
  • The Four Seasons: Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, RV 315, "Summer": II. Adagio e Piano - Presto e Forte by Budapest Strings
  • Concerto for Two Pianos, Strings and Continuo in C Major, BWV 1061: II. Adagio - Largo by Julia Ganev, Konstantin Ganev & Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble
  • Concerto for Piano, Strings and Continuo No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052: II. Adagio by Dora Milanova & Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble
  • Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73: II. Adagio Non Troppo - L'istesso Tempo, Ma Grazioso by Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra

The album has a wide selection of songs, and it comes at a very affordable price. In addition to mourning, it’s perfect for work, walks, and every other activity. The music is quiet and calming and pleasant to hear. 

30 Must-Have Largo Masterpieces was released in 2014 by various artists. If you’re looking for lots of evergreen classics, you’ll be able to find: 

  • Concerto for Piano, Strings and Continuo No. 5 in F Minor, BWV 1056: II. Largo by Dora Milanova & Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble
  • The Four Seasons, Op. 8: Violin Concerto No. 1 in E Major, RV 269 "Spring": II. Largo e Pianissimo Sempre by Budapest Strings
  • Organ Concerto in F Major, HV 295 "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale": Larghetto by Istvan Ella & Corelli Chamber Orchestra
  • Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Continuo in D Minor, BWV 1043: II. Largo ma non tanto by Christian Altenburger, Ernst Mayer-Schierning & German Bach Solists
  • Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, B. 178 "From the New World": II. Largo (Excerpt) by Prague Festival Orchestra

The price of this album can't be beat, because it has so many must-have classical songs for such an affordable price. However, this album might not be the right choice for you if you're looking for non-intrusive ambient sounds. The pieces featured on this album have a wide range of instrumentation and dynamics and are solid classics.

You can’t go wrong with this album if you’re a fan of classical music. If you’re looking for music that’s poignantly beautiful, we’re happy to inform you that you’ve found it. The album features incredibly talented composers, and the price is definitely a steal. 

Ave Maria (Laser Light Classics) was released in 2006. It features the following artists: Stefan Ganzer (Performer), Bernhard Baumgärtner (Conductor), Handel, George Frederick (Composer), Haydn, Franz Joseph (Composer), Camerata Academica Salzburg (Orchestra, Performer), Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (Composer), Jean-Louis Gil (Performer), Ivan Fischer (Conductor), Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra (Orchestra), Karol Teutsch (Conductor), Budapest Strings (Orchestra, Performer), Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra (Orchestra), Gounod, Charles (Composer), Schumann, Robert (Composer), Bach, Johann Sebastian (Composer), Maria Zadori (Performer) Schubert, Fand ranz [Vienna] (Composer).

The album has a wonderful selection of Ave Maria songs and an impressive selection of classical songs. It includes inventive harmonies and there’s definitely something spiritual in the mood it sets.

When you need to relax or calm your spirit, this album is the perfect choice to reach for. If you want to express a sense of mourning or love, this can be a great album.

60 Must-Have Masses was released in 2013 by various artists. Some of the songs on this album include:

  • Mass in C Major, K. 317, "Coronation Mass": IV. Sanctus
  • Mass in C Major, K. 317, "Coronation Mass": V. Benedictus 
  • Mass in C Major, K. 317, "Coronation Mass": VI. Agnus Dei
  • Mass No. 14 in B-Flat Major, "Harmony Mass": V. Benedictus
  • Mass No. 14 in B-Flat Major, "Harmony Mass": VI. Agnus Dei

The album has a low price tag and a wide collection of classical pieces. Every title in this collection is gorgeous and you’ll be very happy you’ve purchased this product. 

Ave Maria - Mystic Prayers was released in 2017 by various artists. This album includes Requiem in D Minor K 626, originally composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When he died in 1791, he left this piece of music incomplete. His student, Franz Xaver Sussmayr, completed the piece. 

Believe it or not, there’s a bit of scandal attached to this composition. The requiem was commissioned by Count Franz von Walsegg-Stuppach according to a contract that Mozart had signed and an attorney had witnessed. The count wanted to show the work to others as his own, and he actually thought he could pull it off! He was insistent that Mozart doesn’t reveal his involvement in the piece.

While he was composing this piece, Mozart also wrote La Clemenza di Tito and The Magic Flute, and he worked on this piece when his strength and time allowed it. However, he had finished only a part of it, due to the fact that his health worsened as time passed by. 

Some other songs on this album include:

  • St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No. 2, "Herzliebster Jesu" (Chorale)
  • Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339: V. Laudate dominum
  • St. John Passion, BWV 245: No. 52, "In meines Herzens Grunde" (Chorale)
  • St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No. 36, "Ach! Nun ist mein Jesu hin!" (Aria and Chorus)
  • St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No. 44, "Wer hat dich so geschlagen?" (Chorale)

This is a truly beautiful compilation of some of the greatest classics. If you love classical music, then you can’t go wrong with this great purchase. The compilation includes wonderful works selected to provide inspiration, tranquility, and quiet reflection to the listener. 

The Power of Music at Funerals

Music is communal and collective in all societies around the world. Music affects us with a power that not even neurologists and psychologists can fully explain. Although we think of music as entertainment, music binds and brings us together and we often overlook its power to evoke the deepest emotions in us.

When it comes to funeral ceremonies, music plays a vital role. When celebrating the life of a loved one, it plays an important part. Music has the ability to dig up memories that are long forgotten and bring them to the surface.

For example, you can remember happy memories you’ve had with a person by playing songs that you’ve enjoyed together. The soul is touched by music in a manner that is unexplainable and comforting.

The experience of ceremonies is enhanced in an appropriate and positive way thanks to music. Funeral music and funeral planning go together. To put it simply, all funerals should use a piece of music to create an atmosphere of healing for friends and family and pay tribute to a loved one whom they lost and will always remember. 

Diversity of Funeral Music

Since the end of the 20th century, the musical repertoire of funerals has broadened. The people organizing the funeral not only decide the musical repertoire for the ceremony, but they also decide at which moment of the funeral the music will be played. So, music at funerals has become not only very flexible but also very diverse.  

Funeral music can be played during, before, and after the funeral ceremony. The decision of when the music should be played will be up to those who plan the service. Keep in mind that the music you choose will set the mood for the attendees of the funeral, as well as for yourself.

Without music, would a funeral service be able to celebrate the life of a loved one in a proper manner? You should be able to express your emotions in a unique way and grieve your loved one.

Why Have Music at A Funeral?

One of the most important parts of any memorial service or funeral is how it sounds. No matter if you have a religious practice or not, the significance of music is universal. Following are some of the reasons why music should be a part of a funeral.

It’s Connected with Emotions and Memories

The significance, performers, and lyrics of a song can create strong connections. During a time of loss, listening to music can help us recall moments that are dear to us.

Listening to music and really taking our time will give us the opportunity to reflect and the chance to process our feelings.

It’s A Good Way to Honor Someone

Music is often associated with remembrance and recollection. A smart way to personalize the service is by choosing a piece of music that will reflect the hobbies, interests, and life of a person.

Check the personal music tastes of the deceased person or ask others for input if you’re having a hard time choosing the proper audio for the funeral. Other people may be able to recommend contemporary songs, instrumental pieces, or hymns.


Music can strengthen your relationships with others who are also having a hard time accepting the loss of the loved one, in addition to helping you remember their life. It provides a way for everyone to lean on each other for support, honor the life of a loved one, and acknowledge their grief.

It’s Good for You

Dopamine, a neurochemical that makes us feel good and is often associated with pleasure, is released when we listen to music.

Music can reduce the pain, anxiety, and tension that people might be feeling at the moment. It’s a mesmerizing thing that changes attitudes and moods. Good music can regulate your heartbeat and pulse and help us ease depression and relieve nausea.

It’s Even Better When It’s Live

Does your family have any musicians? If it does, you’re in luck. It’s a good idea to invite them to the ceremony so they can play a meaningful piece that could provide an increased amount of personalization and time for healing during the funeral.

The service will have a great deal of artistry if you hire a professional musician. No USB drive can evoke emotions in the way that live music can. Consider an authoritative cello, a heavyhearted bugle, or a talented vocalist for your ceremony.

The expertise that musicians have to offer will also provide sophistication to this meaningful day.

It’s A Communal Experience

Friends and family come together to celebrate, in life and death. Music allows different groups to come together with one focus and one purpose. Music can be observed by singing as a congregation, listening as an audience, or performing together.

It’s A Companion to Grief

Throughout the journey of grief, music is a great companion. It’s a wonderful way of remembering the ones we loved and lost. When words seem to be inadequate, music can help us process the difficult feelings involved in losing a loved one. The right audio can give us an appreciation for life and give us time to listen and reflect.

The Inadequacy of Words

When you’re trying to get in touch with the feelings that are hard to put into words, music can help in the grieving process. You might find it nearly impossible to process your thoughts after the shock of a loss, which is where music steps in.

The profound emotions you’re feeling at the moment can be hard to describe. Music acts as a channel between the heart and the head, and it allows us to truly get in touch with our feelings after a loved one has passed.

Last Note

Classic funeral songs help us process our feelings and it is a vital part of honoring our loved ones. Our thoughts often have a hard time unfolding naturally when we grieve. Music is a way to manifest our mourning and gives structure to our experience. 

About the Author Classical Music Pro

Leave a Comment: