musica para funerales

Music for funerals: importance and meaning

31 May 2024

Funeral music plays an important role in bringing out the emotions we feel when a loved one dies. At Áltima we explain why music is important and its significance during this time of mourning.

The importance of music at funerals

When a loved one dies, it is customary to honour and remember that person through funeral music. Employing music at funerals is important because it has the power to express emotions and convey messages, and it helps us to find the right words that we are not always able to express.

Music also has a calming quality, offering comfort to bereaved family members and helping them to process the feelings that arise after the loss.

On top of this, music can help us to celebrate the life of the deceased and to remember special moments spent with them. Depending on the songs chosen, they can also help us to honour their memory and share special memories.

Therefore, when choosing music for a funeral, it is important to consider the tastes and preferences of your loved one in their life, so that it is truly meaningful in those moments of mourning. And, of course, you should also think about the emotions you want to convey with your song choices.

The meaning of music at funerals

A song at a funeral can help us to convey what we ourselves have difficulty in expressing when we say goodbye to a loved one. For this reason, music is an essential component in this type of situation. It must therefore be chosen carefully so that it really shows and brings out the feelings we are looking for.

Funeral music is an important part of the grieving process. It helps us to channel those feelings that arise when someone we love dies. And it is an element that makes a funeral or wake more personal, so it is really important that it has meaning.

There are a wide variety of different kinds of funeral songs that may be chosen, either because they were your loved one's favourites or for another reason. Nowadays, with so many different types of farewell ceremonies, families are increasingly turning to less traditional funeral music, although there are still many who maintain religious traditions or continue to use songs that are specific to these situations.

When organising a funeral, it is important to plan the music in a way that pays tribute to the deceased. The family should choose music that is special, evokes memories of their loved one and creates a connection with those attending the funeral. These songs should help all those attending the funeral service to remember the life of the deceased person.

Most popular genres

Music for funerals is becoming more and more varied because the personalisation aspect at farewell ceremonies is growing. That said, the most popular genres continue to be:

  • Religious music. Its spiritual component reflects the faith of the deceased and their relatives.

  • Classical music. With the violin as the main instrument, this lends solemnity to the melodies.

  • Popular music. Well-known songs that may have a connection with the deceased or simply express feelings such as love or peace.

In some cases, these genres can be mixed, as there are many popular songs that can be performed under the umbrella of classical music, for example, with calmer versions that convey peace and tranquillity to the relatives at this difficult time.

One trend at many ceremonies is the performance of funeral music by a choir. They can either perform their own repertoire of songs or tailor them to the preferences of relatives. It is yet another of the many options that exist today to give special meaning to the farewell of a loved one.

Music for Catholic funerals

Catholic funerals are still the most common in Spain, so the music not only has a meaning that is connected to the deceased, but also has a religious background. And this is precisely what usually comes to the fore in this type of ceremony.

There is a wide variety of music for Catholic funerals. Some of the songs that are common in this type of religious ceremony are the following:

  • Adagio

  • Aleluya

  • Ave María

  • Cerca de ti, Señor

  • The Sound of Silence

These songs are prayers, but they are also introspective melodies that invite reflection or speak of faith.

Shows of faith and tradition at a funeral

In a Catholic funeral, the music is more about a show of faith and tradition, so there is less room for personalisation. This does not mean that a selection of specific songs cannot also be made, but they will tend to have more of a religious meaning, without specifically focusing on the deceased.

The lyrics of these songs convey messages of faith, love, peace or hope. This, on the one hand, means that there is no special distinction based on the memories it may convey about the deceased person. But, on the other hand, it does offer the possibility of choosing a message that, within the Catholic faith, we want to convey about the death of our loved one.