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If you’re planning a funeral that includes a moment of reflection, we’ve put together some ideas for music you could choose. Explore these 17 pieces of music for reflection at funerals, ranging from classical tunes to popular songs.

Scroll down to see the list and listen to our suggestions. You might find one that’s perfect for the send-off you have in mind.

What is reflection music at a funeral?

Some funerals include a moment of reflection. This is a quiet time when people can pray or think back on the person who has died.

You can play music during the moment of reflection if you like. Often, people choose soft, peaceful music so it won’t distract others from their thoughts. This could be instrumental music – like classical compositions – or gentle songs with meaningful lyrics.

Don’t be afraid to go for a different mood, though. Our suggestions focus on calm, reflective music, but you can choose anything you like – provided the venue allows it and it fits your beliefs.

For instance, you could choose a reflection song for a funeral because it meant a lot to the person who has died. Or you might decide to avoid music altogether and let people reflect in silence instead.

Suggested reflection music for funerals

Instrumental reflection music

These suggestions have no lyrics so would work well as reflective background music.

Reflective piano music for funerals

Pianos can set a mood and stir our emotions like no other instrument. Here are 3 beautiful pieces of piano music for reflection and quiet contemplation.

War Song by Phamie Gow

Scottish composer Phamie Gow wrote ‘War Song’ to honour soldiers who have died in combat. It has a pretty, Celtic-style melody and a wistful sound.

Nocturne No. 20 in C# minor by Frédéric Chopin

This is one of Chopin’s most popular solo piano compositions. It sounds like a dark, dreamy lullaby.

The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Michael Nyman

‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First’ is a gentle, romantic piece that was composed for a film called The Piano.

Reflective classical music for funerals

Here are some peaceful orchestral tunes that would suit a moment of reflection. You’ll find more suggestions in our article on classical music for funerals.

Clarinet Concerto in A major (2nd movement) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart finished this composition a few weeks before he died. Led by clarinet and violins, it mixes happy melodies with a feeling of quiet melancholy.

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E♭ Major (2nd movement) by Ludwig van Beethoven

This piece is also known as the Emperor Concerto. We’ve chosen the 2nd movement because it has a slow, sad, beautiful sound.

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Variation 18) by Sergei Rachmaninoff

You might recognise this piece from movies and TV shows. It seems to swell and sway like waves on a windy day.

Reflective instrumental music by modern composers

Do you want a classical sound with a modern twist? All these instrumentals were written in the 1970s or later.

Brian Eno – An Ending (Ascent)

Brian Eno has composed many tunes that would work well as funeral reflection music. This is one of his most famous.

Ólafur Arnalds – Allt Varð Hljótt

‘Allt varð hjótt’ is Icelandic for ‘everything became silent’.

Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt

Like much of Arvo Pärt’s music, Spiegel im Spiegel has a stark, simple beauty that’s perfect for reflection or prayer.

Reflection songs for funerals

If you’d like to, it’s fine to have reflection music with lyrics. We’ve chosen these ones because of their gentle sound and meaningful words.

The best funeral reflection songs

There are plenty of good reflection songs for funerals, but these rank among the very best.

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence

Simon & Garfunkel released 2 versions of ‘The Sound of Silence’. We’ve chosen the original acoustic version here.

Audrey Hepburn – Moon River

‘Moon river, wider than a mile,’ sings Audrey Hepburn in this tear-jerking classic. ‘I’m crossing you in style someday.’

The Beatles – The Long and Winding Road

This song is a little bolder than our other suggestions. However, its swelling strings and lovelorn lyrics are sure to stir up some emotions.

Modern funeral songs for reflection

You don’t have to choose oldies or classical instrumentals. Here are some reflective funeral songs released since the 1990s.

Massive Attack – Teardrop

The lyrics of ‘Teardrop’ are quite hard to decipher. However, the first line is very clear: ‘Love, love is a verb – love is a doing word.’

Kate Bush – A Coral Room

Kate Bush wrote ‘A Coral Room’ as a tribute to her mother, who died in 1992. It’s a complex, piano-led song that’s full of mystery and memories.

Norah Jones – Come Away With Me

‘Come Away With Me’ was a big hit in many parts of the world. The song is about wanting to escape to somewhere peaceful with a person you love.

Reflective Christian music

Here are some modern examples of reflective worship music. These Christian songs combine a soft pop sound with lyrics about faith and determination.

Are you looking for Christian hymns, or songs that reflect other beliefs? Take a look at our list of traditional funeral music.

Natalie Grant – Held

This 2005 track tells the story of a mother who has lost her child. She feels a complex mix of emotions, like pain, anger and disbelief. But she knows that God will be there to support her, even in her darkest hours.

Rita Springer – Defender

Here’s a piece of religious reflection music with a simple, uplifting message: prayer is powerful.