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Suitable music to play at a funeral?

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  • #16
    David and everyone, while Cyberhymnal has some interesting features, it is not my first choice to check out hymn tunes I am not familiar with. The MIDI files on there are Really, Really, lousy renditions to my ears. Not to mention that a lot of them have weird phrasing to them. They all sound like they were entered into MIDI by someone who does Not play hymns often. It is however, a prime example of how MIDI files can be done poorly !

    The site that is my "Go To" site for hymn tunes is :

    http://www.smallchurchmusic.com/index.php

    The guy that runs it is a retired minister, and organist. All of the hymns are available in real organ settings and sound. They are played with all the stanzas included too. A lot of them also have other settings as well. Like combo band and so on. You can search by tune name or hymn name, or get a list either of them in alphabetical order.

    It is free too, except for if the tune still has an active copyright. For copyright tunes, there is a small charge, but of course that is appropriate. He is not making money on them; just collecting and remitting it to the copyright organizations.

    It is well worth checking out. There is a lot of stuff there, but some of it requires looking around the site a bit to find it all. If the hymn tune or song happens not to be on there, my next choice is You Tube.
    Regards, Larry

    At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

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    • #17
      After my Dads next door neighbour died, dad was invited by Franks widow to the funeral.

      A sombre event which outlined Franks involvement in the merchant navy sailing in the Arctic convoys of World War II. Rewarded by the Russian government in the 1980's for his part.

      As a big fan of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra's rendition of 'I did it my way. was to be played as the coffin was burnt.

      Unfortunately somebody either flipped the disc or got the wrong disc. Anyhow, with the casket well alight and embers floating upwards the music of Frank Sinatra began... "Come fly with me come fly me to the moon..."

      Needless to say it did not go down well in the crematorium.

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      • #18
        Around here, we've begun to call a funeral "a celebration of the life of ...."

        As such the music is not morbid, nor in minor keys necessarily. We remember the good things that come to mind when we think of the deceased. The music is not flippant, but it is on the cheerful or happy side; it presents something positive. Like the discussion on here about preludes and talking, I realize that in some cases, people are coming together to offer condolances and to share memories; with that in mind, the talking before the service is very important to the whole process. I play for about 15 minutes, and for our situation, that seems to work well.

        When my choir is asked to sing at a funeral, I tell them that there is already one dead person in the room; we don't need any more; that if someone in the congregation is in need of comfort, we can provide that; and that comfort includes strength. If we sing uplifting hymns, we do sing quiet verses, but if the text is meant to inspire, we have no problem rising to a crescendo, lifting both the rafters and people's spirits. All those hymns whose last verses paint a picture of a glorious eternal home - we try to bring out that idea in our singing.

        I once played a funeral at a neighboring Baptist church when they were between organists; one had retired, a new one hadn't been appointed. The closing hymn was Amazing Grace, where the last verse begins "When we've been there ten thousand years." I started with the first couple verses being gentle but strong; a solid registration and not dragging. With each new verse, I'd increase the registration and the energy. The church was full for this funeral and when we got to the last verse, everyone was joyously singing about the future that they believed in. After the service, the minister thanked me and said he had never heard the hymn sung like that - he loved it. I told him that I just played what the words said.

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        • #19
          On the radio today they were playing Brahms' "Deutsches Requiem" and I listened to the part that I have long wanted to be performed at my funeral: "Behold, the Flesh Is As the Grass" (English version)--it's the second movement--and I do want the tympani! I think the Biblical text is just perfect and the music fits it very well. I teared up a little and it made driving difficult.

          David

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          • #20
            If I could afford it, I'd have Messiaen's "Turangalila Symphony" played at my funeral, especially the last movement.

            Here's my favorite performance of the work:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4reSBqOhSGY

            Orchestre de lOpera Bastille
            dir. Myung-Whun Chung
            soloists: Yvonne Loriod - piano
            Jeanne Loriod Ondes Martenot
            Last edited by regeron; 09-19-2012, 08:00 AM. Reason: added link

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            • #21
              Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
              On the radio today they were playing Brahms' "Deutsches Requiem" and I listened to the part that I have long wanted to be performed at my funeral: "Behold, the Flesh Is As the Grass" (English version)--it's the second movement--and I do want the tympani! I think the Biblical text is just perfect and the music fits it very well. I teared up a little and it made driving difficult.

              David
              Excellent suggestion, David! The part that really affects me is near the end, to wit: "But the Lord's word standeth forevermore."

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              • #22
                Hello, this is my first response as a new member. I'm playing for a funeral next week, and the widow is asking for Amazing Grace as prelude or solo. Does anyone know of any downloadable, sublime arrangements because I need it quick! Nothing fancy, but angelic? Thanks so much.

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                • #23
                  Hi,
                  My favorite is by Frederick Swann in a book called "Four Hymn Improvisations for Organ" published by H.T. FitzSimons Co.
                  distributed by Hal Leronard.
                  Good Luck,
                  Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Texas
                  Jerry F Bacon-Dallas,Tx

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                  • #24
                    The most common ones is Chopin's Funeral March, (Arr. for Organ).
                    Given the history of pipe organs in churches and cathedrals and its heavy use in sacred music, it is a very fitting musical instrument to convey the spiritual journey of the deceased.

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                    • #25
                      I've requested John Weavers Prelude on Sine Nomine for my funeral!
                      Vaughn Williams meets W.C. Handy!!! Love it:-)
                      Pete

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                      • #26
                        I've requested "Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye".
                        -------

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

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                        • #27
                          Lol this really doesn't answer your question or help you in any way. When I saw this post, I just thought of myself. As you see, young organist. Im assisting in my first organ helper thingy. Im helping the organist at our church turn pages in this very very big funeral. Its actually tomorrow the 23 of November. Im not sure how it will turn out. Wish me the best of luck!
                          Y.O

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Young Organist View Post
                            Im helping the organist at our church turn pages in this very very big funeral. Its actually tomorrow the 23 of November.
                            Make sure you stand to the right of the organist, and turn the pages from the top.:devil: That way, the organist will have to guess at least the next 4-6 measures while you S-L-O-W-L-Y remove your arm and prepare for the next page turn!

                            Best of luck at your event tomorrow, and please keep track of the music so we can get ideas.

                            Personally, I just choose music the family (& deceased--if I knew them) wishes/wished to hear. I've attended several funerals that were celebrations on the person's homegoing. Not everything has to be sad and depressing, but check with the family first.

                            Michael

                            P.S. My vote is: "Goin' down for the last time--that's how you found me, Lord."
                            Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                            • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                            • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                            • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

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