Musical Themes

The graves of musicians almost always display symbols of music such as musical instruments, or notes of a song which may represent a favourite hymn or a song written by the deceased.

LYRE/HARP
Historically, a lyre or harp was representative of heavenly music. When displayed with a broken string it symbolized the end of life.
harp

This gravestone in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, marks the burial place for Professor George Edward Percy Careless, a pioneer of 1864. He led the Salt Lake Theatre orchestra and was appointed Tabernacle choir leader.

HARP utah
Source: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=27200407&PIpi=47812981

Ebenezer Beesley succeeded George Careless as the Conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

HARP beesely
Source: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27200438

A harp also indicates Irish heritage as in this example of an elaborately decorated Celtic cross in the graveyard at Bonamargy Friary in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, Ireland.
HARP ireland

GUITAR
Cindy Walker was an American songwriter responsible for a large number of popular and enduring songs recorded by many different artists. She was also a country music singer and dancer. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997. This attractive memorial is located in Mexia City Cemetery, Texas, USA.
GUITAR abcnews_cindy_walker

As an American musician and singer-songwriter Charles Hardin Holley, known as Buddy Holly, was influential in the rock and roll scene. In 1959, at the age of 22 when his career was taking off, he was tragically killed in a plane crash. He is buried in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas. The flat gravestone is engraved with a depiction of his Fender Stratocaster.
GUITAR paste

Johnny Ramone was the third member of the punk rock sensations, The Ramones, to pass away. He is memorialized with a bronze statue. The 50 year old Johnny (aka John Cummings) joined dead Ramones Joey and Dee Dee on September 15, 2004 after succumbing to prostate cancer. The $100,000 statue depicts the beloved NYC mophead with his Mosrite guitar in hand. It was sculpted by artist Wayne Toth. The memorial is located in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, USA.
CA_Los Angeles_Johnny Ramone

MUSICAL STAFFS
The almost illegible gravestone located in Brompton Cemetery, London, England, is marked with musical notes. I searched for a long time trying to match the few visible words to a verse or lyric, but without any luck.

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Colonel Sanford C. Faulkner was a businessman and politician in Arkansas, USA. As a tribute to his life and his talent as a fiddle player (he composed the tune “The Arkansas Traveler”, which was the State song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963), a marker was placed at his grave in 1954 by the Pulaski County Historical Society. The gravestone is inscribed; Known to his friends as Sandy known to fame as the Composer of the Arkansas Traveler.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This example of a standard CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) gravestone honours Second Lieutenant Hugh Gordon Langton, a talented violinist who died in 1917 while serving with the 4th Batallion London Regiment Royal Fusiliers. This is the only CWGC gravestone to be inscribed with a musical staff. It is believed to echo notes from an old American song called After The Ball. It is located in Poelcapelle British Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium.

BARS findagrave
Source: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=12117383&PIpi=49542913

PIANO
William Henry Thornton was a classical pianist who played music for the troops in World War One. He died during the influenza pandemic of 1918. The lid of the unusual piano memorial was originally engraved with his name, Harry Thornton. An inscription on the side is attributed to Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly; “Sweet thou art sleeping; cradled on my heart; safe in god’s keeping; while I must weep apart.” It is located in Highgate Cemetery, London, England.

PIANO flickr 1962
Status 1962. Source: http://cordgrass.blogspot.ca/2009/08/london-cemeteries.html
PIANO cordgrass
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/69389735@N04/

Frederic Chopin was born in Poland to a French immigrant father. A Polish composer and virtuoso pianist he lived most of his life in Paris until he died from Tuberculosis in 1849. His grave which is located in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France, contains his body. However, in accordance with his wishes, his heart was interred at Holy Cross Church, Warsaw, Poland.
France_Paris_Pere lachaise_Chopin

findagrave chopin
Source: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=198

And in a fitting conclusion, we see a gravestone displaying the words from a song by the British rock band, Queen; ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST.
queen

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