Funerals have changed beyond recognition since lockdown began. From large gatherings to celebrate a life with music and words, they have shrunk to just 10 or so close family members, sitting apart and unable to console each other. Some families can’t even attend in person, instead watching via a web video link as they sit in isolation at home.
Around 90% of funerals we sing at include hymns, whether the funeral is held in a church or a crematorium. Hymns are a source of great comfort for many attending, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they wish to sing themselves. Often, we can see a church full of mourners and there are about ten people actually singing the hymns.
Funeral hymns play a large part in many religious funeral services. They have become part of our culture and many seem almost second nature to us. You may wonder how you know the hymn even if you're not a church goer!
We’ve totted up the numbers for 2018 and there were a few new entries into out chart list.
The composers or our chart toppers this year are separated by over 240 years. Goes to show if you get the tune right it will quickly become and remain a favourite for many and these men have that magic that makes a good tune!
Music at a funeral service is often one of the first things to be discussed, as music has a great effect on people’s emotions.
Looking through our records of music sung at funerals brought to light some interesting insights into the most popular Catholic funeral songs and hymns.
Who exactly is a funeral for? This may seem an obvious question, but the answer isn't quite so straightforward. We believe a funeral service should celebrate a life well lived, offering the family and those who attend the chance to remember, to reflect as well as say goodbye. Therefore, the choice of music, readings and tributes should reflect their choices.
One of our favourite funeral hymns is 'And did those feet in ancient times', otherwise known as 'Jerusalem'.
The choice of hymns for a funeral service are very personal to each family. There are long discussions about who likes which hymns and what ones were particular favourites of their loved one. However after much discussion it gets sorted, phew! Job done. Actually, not quite.
When choosing hymns for a funeral service it's often difficult to know where to start, as there are so many hymns to choose from. We've sung at many Catholic funeral masses and funeral services, so here's some help for choosing funeral hymns.
Where do you start when choosing hymns for a funeral service? There are so many hymns to choose from. Having sung at many Anglican funerals we've first hand experience of the various choices people have. Often it's a close run thing with the popularity of hymns as we all have our favourites.
There appears to be a plethora of new hymns arriving each year. Every church we sing in has another new 'favourite' that we at Singers for Funerals need to learn, and I am truly amazed at this fact.
Here at Singers for Funerals, we love the trend towards personalised order of service booklets, complete with family pictures and poems. However, we have also noticed a problem with hymns words differing from what is printed in most hymns books, and sometimes complete rearrangements of verses, to the point where even the organist gets confused!
We've sung at a many Catholic funeral masses recently, and the choice of hymns has set us thinking.
There are so many different hymns in the hymn books(the Laudate has over 900 listed). Most churches have a repertoire of favourite hymns that suit the priest, congregation and musicians but sometimes these are not the most popular or well known.
Kevin Mayhew of Kevin Mayhew Publishing has started a debate on Hymn singing and the keys they are sung in. He says that many people say ‘We can’t sing up there’, and states that research shows the human singing voice has dropped over the last century.
What's the nation's most popular hymn? Viewers of BBC TV's Songs of Praise chose their favourite from a list of 100 traditional and modern hymns during spring 2013.
Choosing hymns for a funeral can be quite tricky if you don't attend church regularly, and according to statistics from the Church of England, that includes most of us these days.
In their recent report, the Cooperative Funeralcare reported that:
Funeral hymns really do sound best played on a real organ - but what if the church or crematorium doesn't have an organ, or indeed an organist? Singers for Funerals have an extensive library of recorded hymns accompaniments for funerals for just such a situation, thanks to the excellent recordings by John Keys available from the Hymns CDs website.
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All our articles are written either by Toni or Kirsty. If you'd like to write a guest blog, just let us know!