Due to my time in the Army and in Pipe Bands I am often asked for advice on when and how the pipes can be used in a funeral service or remembrance. The following is a brief guide but by no means the limit of how and when you can use the pipes. But whatever the family or friends want is most important


Some questions are?

  • Where should the piper play;

  • When should the piper play; and

  • What should the piper play

The following are some suggestions for incorporating bagpipes into a service or other remembrance.

Where should the piper play


Families typically have a bagpiper play at one or more of the following locations.

  • At the church or memorial hall;

  • During the funeral service;

  • At the graveside;

  • At a crematorium; and/or

  • Any other location for a wake, remembrance, or ash scattering ceremony.

When should the piper play

  • Outside as mourners arrive;

  • Meet the hearse and pipe the pall-bearers and casket into the hall or church;

  • Play one or more selections at some point during the service;

  • Pipe the pall-bearers and casket out of the church or hall and back to the hearse;

  • Play outside the church or hall as the mourners leave;

  • Play near the grave site or outside the mausoleum or chapel as the mourners arrive.

  • Meet the hearse and pipe the pall bearers and casket to the grave site or scattering site;

  • Play one or more selections at some point during the graveside, cremation, or scattering service;

  • If flowers are provided to the mourners, the piper often plays while the flowers are being placed;

  • Play during the lowering of the casket, placing of the urn, or the closing of the curtain for a cremation service;

  • Play at the end of the service as the mourners leave.

What should the piper play

Amazing Grace is perhaps the best known, and most popular composition performed on the bagpipe.

Listen to Amazing Grace 

However, there is a vast repertoire of       appropriate music for funeral services.


Slow Airs and Laments are particularly suited for  funeral and memorial services.

Here is a list of tunes I am commonly asked to play at funerals;

  • Flowers of the Forest

  • Highland Cathedral

  • The Mull of Kintyre

  • The Dark Island

  • Oft in the stilly night

  • The Skye Boat Song

  • Mist Covered Mountains

  • Going Home

  • Amazing Grace

  • Many other special requests for music can usually be accommodated.