Funeral Music between Heaven and Earth

Janieke Bruin-Mollenhorst

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Contemporary funerary culture in the Netherlands is often characterised as secularised and individualised. This chapter focuses on images of heaven and angels and various versions of the Ave Maria in contemporary funeral music. How is this musical repertoire interpreted in a secularised context? This study builds on earlier research on images of heaven and angels in the context of death (Quartier, 2011; Walter, 2011, 2016a, 2016b) and demonstrates how images of heaven and angels and the Ave Maria in the context of contemporary funeral rituals in the Netherlands are related to ‘lived religion’ – how religion is ‘lived’ both in- and outside institutionalised settings – and ‘continuing bonds’ – how bonds with the deceased are not severed but continued. It also shows that the range of applicability of these concepts should not be overestimated, as musical references to heaven and angels, and the song Ave Maria, can also be regarded as ritual repertoire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic & Death
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Readings and Perspectives
EditorsMarie Josephine Bennett, David Gracon
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)9781838679453
ISBN (Print)9781838679460
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Music
  • Death
  • Funeral
  • Religion
  • Heaven
  • Angels
  • Continuing bonds


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