Musical parameters in the playlist of a Dutch Crematorium

Janieke Mollenhorst, Martin Hoondert, Menno van Zaanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


In cremation rituals in the Netherlands music plays an important role. However, what exactly this role is remains unclear. In the literature on cremation rituals, music has received little attention up to now. A computational analysis of music played during cremations and a subsequent comparison of the results of this analysis with results of the analysis of two other playlists containing popular music shows that the crematorium playlist differs significantly from the other two playlists. The music played at cremations does indeed have specific properties, properties that correspond to notions typically expected at cremations, making it suitable for the occasion. Theories of the relation between musical properties and emotions indicate that the music played as part of cremation rituals can be qualified as serene, solemn and tender. Here we provide computational evidence that this is indeed the case.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-339
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • crematorium
  • music
  • playlist
  • emotion
  • computational analysis


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