(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ryan Conroy)

As a piper I am often asked to play at funerals. Rarely is a sound so moving, or more fitting, as the moment when one hears Amazing Grace rolling through a cemetery.

A funeral is a very personal and emotional time for those of us left behind and the planning process for a service can be overwhelming. That being said, the time and place for utilizing the bagpipes is really a personal choice. Below are some common practices for your consideration:

Funeral Services

  • Before the service the piper may play to announce the arrival of the hearse or lead the pallbearers procession into the church or funeral home.
  • During the service is not as common, but sometimes the family will ask the piper to play a tune that holds special meaning to the family.
  • At the end/after the service the piper may play as the pallbearers process to the hearse or lead the mourners as they exit the church or funeral home.


  • The piper may escort the pallbearers from the hearse to the graveside.
  • Often a piper is asked to play as the casket is lowered or as loved ones place flowers on the casket.
  • As the mourners depart it is common for the piper to play a lament.

Suggested tunes:

  • Going Home
  • Amazing Grace
  • The Flower of Scotland
  • Highland Cathedral
  • The Green Hills of Tyrol
  • When the Battle is Over
  • The Sands of Kuwait