The Psychological function of music in mourning rituals: examples from three continents

Sandra Garrido, Waldo F. Garrido

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

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter looks at the role of music by considering evidence from ethnographic and ethnomusicological studies into the use of music in mourning rituals in three specific cultural contexts. It considers the jazz funeral from New Orleans in North America; from South America the chapter discusses the case of the 'cantos de angeles’ from Chile, a particular song form used for the funerals of very young children; and from Europe the chapter considers the role of the lament in Georgia. The chapter provides a brief description of each ritual and its associated music before comparing and contrasting these rituals and examines them in the light of theories about coping with bereavement. It shows that music can fulfil a number of valuable psychological functions in the resolution of grief. Music used in funerals has developed in recent years in a life-interpreting direction and this reflects important changes in the approach to questions of life and death.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic and mourning
EditorsJane W. Davidson, Sandra Garrido
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317092414
ISBN (Print)9781472458797
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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