In this article:

Funeral entrance music sets the tone at the start of a funeral ceremony. It’s usually an instrumental track or a song that people will hear when they take their seats or when the coffin is carried into the venue. 

In this article, we look at what makes good music for the funeral entrance and offer some suggestions to help you choose something that’s right for the funeral you’re planning. Whether you’re looking for the right music to enter the crematorium, a hymn for a religious service, traditional organ music, or modern songs for the funeral entrance, we’ve provided some ideas below. We’ve also included a few famous examples of music for funeral processions. 

What is a good entrance song for a funeral? 

You can think of entrance music for a funeral service as being like the first sentence in a story or the first scene in a film. It’s there to set a mood and help people know what to expect from the funeral service. 

So what makes good funeral entrance music? That depends. As you’ll hear from our suggestions, funeral entrance songs can feel sad, uplifting, peaceful or powerful. It’s your choice what mood you want to create and how you want to remember the person who’s died. You could even pick a funeral entry song simply because it meant a lot to that person. 

Bear in mind that some religions have rules about funeral music. For instance, you can only choose certain funeral entrance hymns for a catholic service. Some faiths, like Islam and Orthodox Judaism, don’t allow music at all. 

Tip:

It’s a good idea to think about funeral entrance music and exit music together. Choosing different moods for the entry and exit can have a powerful effect.

Ideas for entrance music for funerals 

Classical music for the funeral entrance 

Here are 3 classical pieces that strike different moods. For more ideas, take a look at our article on classical music for funerals

Symphony No. 9 in E minor (2nd movement) by Antonín Dvořák 

String Quartet No. 16 (3rd movement) by Ludwig van Beethoven 

Largo in E♭ major by Frédéric Chopin 

 

  

Organ music for the funeral entrance 

Organ music is always a popular choice for the start of a funeral. We’ve come up with a choice of religious and non-religious suggestions for you to consider. 

Depending on the funeral venue you choose, you can play these funeral entry songs through a sound system or hire an organist to play them. 

Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ by Johann Sebastian Bach 

The gentle progression of this choral prelude is a fitting funeral entry song if you want to create a sense of calm and peace. It’s subtly powerful. And it could be a good choice of funeral entrance music for someone who requested a more traditional send-off. 

Onward Christian Soldiers by Sabine Baring-Gould 

Onward Christian Soldiers is a 19th century English hymn that was originally intended to be used for a procession of school children. It was something for them to sing as they walked through their village on the way to their parish church. With its military imagery referring to a Christian’s journey away from sin, it’s a good choice of funeral entrance hymn for someone who was dedicated to their faith. 

Ricercar Brevis by J. P. Sweelinck 

This is a stirring piece of music that’s bound to have an emotional impact on mourners. It was written by Dutch composer and organist, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, who’s widely considered to be one of the major transitional figures from the Renaissance to Baroque styles of composition.  

 

The best entrance songs for funerals 

If you’re looking for popular funeral entry music these songs are well-known and have lyrics that are suitable for funerals. 

Boyzone – No Matter What 

This philosophical ballad was originally written for musical Whistle Down The Wind but was later adapted by the popular 90s boyband, Boyzone. It’s a gentle take on personal faith, however that looks for you, and could be a fitting funeral entry song if you want to set a soft, and peaceful tone for the service. 

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah 

Leonard Cohen’s recognisable riff in Hallelujah has been covered many times but possibly the most haunting version is by Jeff Buckley. Whether you’re religious or not, the soft reverb and Buckley’s powerful vocals could be a fitting tribute for someone you’ve lost too soon.  

Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You 

How Long Will I Love You is a subtle goodbye to a partner. Although it’s not an overt goodbye, it makes an excellent choice of funeral entrance music when you want to acknowledge that your love for the person you’ve list will go on and on. 

  

Funeral entrance songs for the older generation 

These songs are a little older, so might be a good fit for someone who grew up in the 1950s or 1960s. We’ve chosen a couple for mum and a couple for dad, but you don’t have to stick to these categories. One of our ‘dad’ songs might suit your mum – and that’s fine. 

Funeral entrance songs for dad 

Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale 

Procol Harum’s 60s classic is instrument-driven and has a hymn-like quality to it. Even though the meaning behind the lyrics continues to be a topic of debate amongst fans, its hopeful tone could be a good choice of funeral entry song for someone who lived through the summer of ‘67.  

Queen – Play the Game 

Whether you’re looking for funeral entrance music that lightens the mood or you’re looking for the right tune for a Queen fan, Play The Game is a great choice. Its message is to enjoy life and love while you can and pay no attention to playing the game - what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to live your life. So it’s an excellent choice of funeral entry song for someone who didn’t play by the rules. 

Funeral entrance songs for mum 

Mary Hopkin – Those Were the Days 

Whether your Mum sang along to this track as a teen or you find the lyrics suitably nostalgic, it’s a memorable funeral entrance song that’ll help you, and other mourners, think about the time you shared together while she was still here. 

Ella Fitzgerald – Always 

This is a tender tribute that starts softly and leaps into a joyous dedication to a lover. It’ll be an excellent choice for a jazz fan or for someone that wanted a more uplifting funeral song at their funeral. Choose this funeral entrance music to show that your love for them will endure, long after they’re gone. 

Entrance hymns for funerals 

Here’s a selection of funeral entrance hymns. At a Christian funeral, the entrance hymn is the first song people sing before the priest starts the service. 

You’ll find more ideas in our collection of traditional funeral music

Here I Am, Lord by Dan Schutte 

Come, Holy Ghost by Louis Lambillotte 

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace by Sebastian Temple 

Funeral procession music 

Funeral procession music is what’s played when the coffin is transported to the funeral venue or cemetery. 

In a really elaborate send-off – such as a state funeral – a brass band might play funeral procession music as the hearse drives by. More commonly, though, it’s the tune you’ll hear while pallbearers carry the coffin into the venue. It can also refer to music for the ‘processional’ – the final part of a Catholic funeral mass. 

Here are 3 examples of well-known funeral procession songs. 

Marche funèbre by Frédéric Chopin 

This is the most famous piece of funeral procession music. ‘March funèbre’ is French for ‘funeral march’. 

Funeral March No. 1 by Johann Heinrich Walch 

‘Funeral March No. 1’ was one of the pieces of music played at the Queen’s funeral procession. People often think Beethoven wrote it, but it’s actually by the German composer Johann Heinrich Walch. 

Let There Be Peace on Earth by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller 

This is a popular modern hymn that’s often used as funeral processional music for Catholic services. 

We hope we’ve given you some ideas about what funeral entry music could be played at the service you’re planning. Whatever you choose, we hope it helps you honour your loved one in the way you’d like.