Title of last song played by quartet as ship went down

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I am looking fo rhte name of the last classical piece (I think) that the quartet played on deck as the Titanic went down. It was being played as the captain was killed.I would appreciate any info.


-- Dean Andrews (jpinst@wavenet.com), January 27, 1998


It is the hymn "Nearer My God To Thee".

There's some historical controversy about what the actual band played as Titanic went down; there's been a case made for the "Songe d'Automne". We will never know for certain.

-- Thomas M. Terashima (tom@nucleus.com), January 27, 1998.

Tom is correct. I just got out an old hymnal and looked up the song. The **tune** used in the film is composed by Lowell Mason, with words by Sarah F. Adams. I emphasize the tune because, according to Walter Lord (in "The Night Lives On") this hymn was sung to different tunes in the US and England. The tune used in the film was (and probably still is) the tune normally used in the US. The Church of England used the tune "Horbury" by J. B. Dykes, while the Methodist Church in England used the tune "Propior Deo" by Sir Arthur Sullivan.

One of the arguments **against** "Near My God To Thee" has been that survivors from both the US and England remembered hearing it; since it was unlikely that the band played all three versions, hymnologists and Titanic historians have tended to discount the notion of its having been played at all.

However, George Behe, a respected Titanic historian in his own right, feels that a strong case can be made that "Nearer My God To Thee" WAS played that night. He points to survivor accounts that in the last half hour or so before the ship foundered, the band began playing hymns. He also cites a story attributed to a well-known Leeds musician of the era by the name of Elwane Moody, who had worked many times with Titanic music director Wallace Hartley as shipboard musicians on the Mauritania. Hartley had even asked Moody to work with him on the Titanic, but fortunately, Moody declined.

Shortly before Titanic's maiden voyage, Moody had asked Hartley what he would do if he were ever on a sinking ship? Hartley paused, then replied, "I don't think I could do better than play "O God, Our Help In Ages Past" or "Nearer My God, To Thee."

Moody later said, "When I read the statement in the papers that he had gone to his death leading the band in "Nearer My God, To Thee," I believed it. If it had been some other hymn I might not have done so, but as it is I can quite believe it. It is just what he would do."

In summary, while it may not have been the **last** tune the band played, Mr. Behe is of the strong opinion that "Nearer My God To Thee" **WAS** played on the Titanic at some point while the ship was sinking.

If you'd like to read Mr. Behe's thoughts on this subject, the URL is: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Carpathia/page3.htm


-- Kip Henry (kip-henry@ouhsc.edu), January 27, 1998.

There has been a case made against "Nearer My God to Thee." It is a beautiful hymn, but some historians argue that the musicians would have never played something so sad. It would have decreased the morale of those aboard ship, particularly the crew. These historians argue that "Autumn" was played. Some survivors attest to hearing "Nearer . . ." and some to "Autumn."

-- Rose (rosemarie17@hotmail.com), February 01, 1998.

I want a Last song of Titanic.please send me i am waiting for your reply. Thanks for all Shonna

-- shonna malik (shonna_100@yahoo.com), November 05, 2002.

I have seen many videos containing interviews with survivors, and also read some of the headlines from the days immediately following the disaster. Many of the people in the lifeboats specifically remembered hearing the beautiful hymn, "Nearer my God to Thee". Whether it was the last song will probably never be known, but according to all accounts which I have heard, this song WAS played.

-- Ed Decatur (edamos54@aol.com), January 02, 2003.

I think that every buddy on this form is right, its beuatiful but its sad. I think that they played automn then changed it to nearer my god to thee as the ship was about to go more then 45 degrees. If you were going to die, would you want a Link Park song blaring in the backround or one of the most masterful songs ever composed. It made the people, mainly men, who had to wait for none-existant lifeboats feel noble about their sacrifice, something that I atleast want when I die. By the time the band played the final song the boat was in maximum panic mode anyway, so agina, its sad but it makes one feel noble, something the crew would want to keep the men from rushing the launching life boats.

-- Peter Joseph Edward Chartier (PeterJosephedwardchartier@hotmail.com), October 18, 2003.

I'd question the claim that "mainly men" went down on the Titanic. The gallantry and chivalry that night has been greatly exaggerated. Check the list of survivors sometime--over 50% of them are men.

-- Val Perry (valerie_Lp@yahoo.com), March 12, 2005.

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