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  • Suitable music to play at a funeral?

    I'm new to this whole funeral thing and my first funeral is on Saturday morning...what should I play?

    Does everything have to be minor? I think that's a bit depressing for the deceased family though! I was thinking maybe...Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 639 and Handel Courante Suite in G HWV 441 (?) and maybe Sarabande by Handel too. Is the Courante by Handel too happy or is it okay? And is Sarabande by Handel too minor? These pieces are really just for the Postlude and for 15 minutes before the ceremony as I will be accompanying a singer throughout.

    Thanks for any help! And please, suggestions appreciated!

  • #2
    I was playing a funeral at my church and starting off with a hymn on the flute celeste when a man came up to the gallery and said "Play something happy".
    I would suggest something respectful but on the happy side and in Major keys.

    Cheers from Dallas,Tx

    Jerry F Bacon ♫♫
    Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Tx

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    • #3
      This brings to mind a particular funeral(I did not know the deceased-I have played for countless services over the years)
      I had been asked to compose a special `fanfare` for the wedding of one of my friends-I went to work on it immediately and came up with something I was rather pleased with.
      So, next time I was playing for a service(it happened to be a funeral) I played this fanfare as the coffin was being carried down the aisle.
      One of the realtives stayed behind and as I was packing up to go home he appraoched and congratulated me on what he called `a suitable musical exit for one so special`-I thanked him and left.
      A week later I was playing for the wedding and gave my `baby` another `trip out`(airing?) as the bride and groom processed down the aisle.
      Sure enough at a later moment, I was congratulated on `a very suitable piece of music for the ocassion!!`
      I suppose the grandeur of both events is very similar and anything that reflects this is suitable!
      p.s. I did not tell my friend that the tune specially composed for his event had been tried out at an earlier juncture(and at a funeral)!!!

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      • #4
        Sometimes one does not have to reveal everything one knows....

        David

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        • #5
          As of 7/16/2013, no longer active on forum.
          Practice hard, practice well.

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          • #6
            David,exactly my thoughts too!

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            • #7
              http://www.thinkceremonies.com/id9.html, find something suitable here ;)
              Everything for your taste!


              ____________________
              scrabble free

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dollie View Post
                http://www.thinkceremonies.com/id9.html, find something suitable here ;)
                Everything for your taste!
                "Bat Out of Hell" at a funeral? What next, "Knees up Mother Brown"?
                -------

                Hammond M-102 #21000.
                Leslie 147 #F7453 in the queue.
                Hammond S-6 #72421

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                • #9
                  My bell choir at church has several times played pieces that had obviously secular tltles but were otherwise quite nice and thoughtful--when posted in the bulletins they were given new titles: "Reverie", "Meditation", "Joy", etc. We've done it a lot with "festival" music (pieces learned for a group workshop that had been composed for that purpose) because we'd worked hard on them and wanted to get some "good" out of them.

                  David

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                  • #10
                    I know this i after the event but for folks who will follow the thread later for encouragement I'd like to share my experience. My background is a little old fashioned so our favorite funeral music is pretty much traditional hymns. When asked to play for my neighbors funeral I put together a binder of music themed on passing on and was able to arrange the keys so they modulated every few songs. I was blessed to play the service on a 3 manual Allen so I could also make the maximum use of registration changes. My only regret of course is the family of the deceased weren't escorted in until after the prelude so they really only got to hear one special and my "vocal" solo.

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                    • #11
                      To some extent, it depends on the capabilities of the organ. I've also used "Come, Sweet Death" in various forms, but on a large, romantic organ in a large building, and so I really let rip with it at the height of the crescendo- it's always a great musical moment for me. There is an association with death, minor keys and depressing music, but I find that it amounts to a stylistic issue. Music in minor keys can be utterly ravishing, and some major key tunes are unbelievably dull- do what works, but don't be scared to push it. Play what you must with conviction, and it will work.

                      - - - Updated - - -

                      To some extent, it depends on the capabilities of the organ. I've also used "Come, Sweet Death" in various forms, but on a large, romantic organ in a large building, and so I really let rip with it at the height of the crescendo- it's always a great musical moment for me. There is an association with death, minor keys and depressing music, but I find that it amounts to a stylistic issue. Music in minor keys can be utterly ravishing, and some major key tunes are unbelievably dull- do what works, but don't be scared to push it. Play what you must with conviction, and it will work.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ophicleide16 View Post
                        To some extent, it depends on the capabilities of the organ. I've also used "Come, Sweet Death" in various forms, but on a large, romantic organ in a large building, and so I really let rip with it at the height of the crescendo- it's always a great musical moment for me. There is an association with death, minor keys and depressing music, but I find that it amounts to a stylistic issue. Music in minor keys can be utterly ravishing, and some major key tunes are unbelievably dull- do what works, but don't be scared to push it. Play what you must with conviction, and it will work.
                        Was "Come, Sweet Death" even written for the organ??

                        While indeed, it sounds particularly satisfying on a large, romantic organ in a large building; there is much that can be utilized on a smaller organ to give it a bigger sound. With most typical smaller organs, we are pretty much limited to coupling celestes together along with a 16' flute on the manual and either a rumbling 32' on the pedals, or possibly a 16' played in fifths. A 32' played in fifths sounds even better. ;-)
                        2008: Phoenix III/44

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                        • #13
                          The hymn I would prefer for my funeral; and perhaps my all time favourite hymn, is "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" (Repton):

                          <dd>O Sabbath rest by Galilee!</dd><dd>O calm of hills above,</dd><dd>Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee</dd><dd>The silence of eternity</dd><dd>Interpreted by love!</dd>
                          2008: Phoenix III/44

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                          • #14
                            I played for a funeral recently and the church warden said to me beforehand that the family had requested Nimrod, but make it `suitably positive`(so I gave the deceased a good rousing send off

                            - - - Updated - - -

                            Originally posted by Clarion View Post
                            The hymn I would prefer for my funeral; and perhaps my all time favourite hymn, is "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" (Repton):

                            <dd>O Sabbath rest by Galilee!</dd><dd>O calm of hills above,</dd><dd>Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee</dd><dd>The silence of eternity</dd><dd>Interpreted by love!</dd>
                            Beautiful words and a lovely hymn tune-`o, still small voice of calm`-magic!

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                            • #15
                              I like REST (aka MAKER) for that hymn. I found REPTON on the Cyberhymnal and didn't care for it at all. (Sorry)

                              My mother wanted "It Is Well With My Soul" (VILLE DU HAVRE) at her funeral, and wanted me to sing it (along with Malotte's "The Lord's Prayer"). She also knew of my inability to sing at any funeral (I cry uncontrollably when the music is played--just about any music). She suggested I record the pieces ahead of time and just play them at the funeral. I did so, and it worked fine. (I cried, but no one cared--it was my mom's funeral, after all.) I have Cyberhymnal playing as I type this, and am weeping. We have a very nice 4-part arrangement of it as an anthem and the choir sings it every so often. I have almost gotten to where I can join in for most of it.

                              My dad's favorite hymn was "In the Garden" and I had not made any preparations for his funeral in advance, so didn't get to sing it for him. I have regretted that for a long time. (Cyberhymnal plays it just a little too fast, I think.)

                              One of my favorites is "Come, Ye Disconsolate" (CONSOLATOR). It is what I turn to when I am down about something.

                              The Cyberhymnal has a feature called "Topics" and there is a section for funerals: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/top/death.htm . You might want to check it out.

                              David

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