funeral music

June marks the anniversary of the Guild of Funerary Violinists founded in Britain in 1586.  Why should you care? Well, music is a great coping mechanism and funeral music plays a pivotal role in the mourning process. Chopin’s Funeral March and “Taps” have become customary but what about the unsung heroes that brought the rise in funeral music.

Before the 16th century, the Vatican had banned all funeral music because it violated Pagan rule but that changed with the arrival of the violin. The violin did not emerge in funeral processions without resistance and the Vatican started condemning the funerary violin as the music of the devil and its existence was fading in Europe. Thanks to establishments like the Guild of Funerary Violists, revival of the somber instrument was reached.

The top 10 songs played at a funeral are uncovered for your listening pleasures:

1. “Tears in Heaven” – Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton brings back the fond memories during sad and trying times. “Tears in Heaven” embraces the concept of meeting again.


2. “In the Arms of an Angel” – Sarah McLachlan

Who could ever forget how soulful Sarah McLaughlin is in the melodic ballad that’s both touching and comforting.


3. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – P!nk

I never would’ve thought a remake of this song would ever be as touching as this one [wiping away tears].


4. “Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw

We should all strive to be better people, before it is too late. Live as if you were dying and make sure you have as few regrets as possible.


5. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper

Cindi Lauper brings back fond memories of a much simpler, innocent time.


6. “A Place Where You Belong” – Bullet for My Valentine

This is a song played with extreme emotion. The lyrics and melody are very passionate so grab a Kleenex.


7. “Lullabye ‘Goodnight My Angel’” – Billy Joel

Billy Joel released ‘Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)’, which was inspired by his daughter and has been a touching tribute parents mourning the loss of a child have turned to for comfort and consoling thoughts.


8. “Who You’d Be Today” – Kenny Chesney

So many songs are written to address the loss of a small child, wife, husband, grandparent, and friend but very rarely are there songs solely dedicated to the tragic deaths of teenagers and young adults, adult Kenny Chesney filled that void.


9. “Prop Me Up” – Joe Diffie

On a lighter note, there are people who prefer upbeat and celebratory songs to play at funerals and/or gatherings to celebrate the lives of those lost. So, what’s a more fitting song than one that tells everyone to prop you up beside a juke box when you die?!


10. “Drink a Beer” – Luke Bryan

The title, “Drink a Beer,” might make you believe that it’s about having a good time but for Luke Bryan, this is an ode to his late brother and sister. A lighter and personal take on coping with loss.

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