A threnody is a song, hymn or poem of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person. The term originates from the Greek word threnoidia, from threnos "wailing" and oide "ode"; ultimately, from the Proto-Indo-European root *wed- ("to speak") that is also the precursor of such words as "ode", "tragedy", "comedy", "parody", "melody" and "rhapsody".
Synonyms include "dirge", "coronach", "lament" and "elegy". The Epitaphios Threnos is the lamentation chanted in the Eastern Orthodox Church on Holy Saturday. John Dryden commemorated the death of Charles II of England in the long poem Threnodia Augustalis, and Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a "Threnody" in memory of his son.
Examples of threnody
- Krzysztof Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima
- Peter H. Gilmore's "Threnody for Humanity"
- Two "Thrénodies" from Franz Liszt's piano series Années de Pèlerinage, set at the Villa d'Este
- Marian McPartland's "Threnody", written in memory of pianist Mary Lou Williams
- Bright Sheng's Nanjing! Nanjing!
- Lou Harrison's Threnody for Carlos Chavez
- Benjamin Britten's "Threnody for Albert Herring"
- André Jolivet's "Chant de Linos" for flute and piano or flute, string trio and harp; described by the composer as "...a form of threnody: a funeral lamentation interrupted by cries and dances..." (1944, premiered 6/1/1945) 
- Janis Crystal Lipzin's 2003-5 film Threnody
- Yusef Komunyakaa's "Sunset Threnody" in Dien Cai Dau (1988)
- Bruce Dawe's poem "Homecoming"
- "I Remember Clifford", written by Benny Golson to honor the memory of Clifford Brown;
- "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", written by Charles Mingus in memory of Lester Young;
- "Memories of Lee Morgan", composed by Pharaoh Sanders in memory of Lee Morgan. Morgan had played on Dizzy Gillespie's recording of I Remember Clifford 
- Moondog's "Bird's Lament", dedicated to Charlie Parker.
|Look up threnody in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- The Oxford Companion to Music (2010)
- "threnody". Online Etymology Dictionary.
- Grove Music Online (2010)
- Bright Sheng: Orchestral Works. Naxos (2002).
- Pierce, Peter (2002). "Australian and American literature of the Vietnam War" in Australia's Vietnam War, p. 132. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 1585441376
- Marcello Sorce Keller, “Expressing, Communicating, Sharing and Representing Grief and Sorrow with Organized Sound (Musings in Eight Short Sentences)”, in Stephen Wild, Di Roy, Aaron Corn, and Ruth Lee Martin (eds.), Humanities Research: One Common Thread the Musical World of Lament, Australian National University, Vol. XIX (2013), no. 3, 3–14.