What would you play IF you're aboard the sinking Titanic?

June 17, 2010 at 05:12 PM ·


i know maybe this is a weird question, but i hope you don't mislead me as being  an "insane",

let's get started,

honestly i dislike "mourning syle" song, like a death sentence was being called upon me. 

but Nearer God to thee,  for me, is exceptional, sometimes when i'm under severe stress, feeling down,  like nothing else could be done, this song gave me the power to carry on, 

 the lyrics, for me, it basically means you're surrendering whatever trouble you may come accross, to God.

just as Wallace Hartley did, once before setting out to sail with the Titanic, he said if he were on a sinking ship, he would play this piece, as his last prayers to God.


i like the song the way it was written, the intonations, the lyrics are just perfect for me as a Melancholic,

and if I were Hartley, i would play the same song,

what would you play if you were Hartley during those horrible moments?



Replies (51)

June 17, 2010 at 05:43 PM ·

hahaha, hehehe, little brown jug do I love thee :)

[why be somber when you only have a few minutes to go?]

June 17, 2010 at 06:32 PM ·

I'd play loudly,  dit dit dit  dah dah dah  dit dit dit.

That's Morse Code S O S.

June 17, 2010 at 07:38 PM ·

Row row row your boat...

June 17, 2010 at 07:45 PM ·

 If I were on a sinking ship and I knew that I was about to die, I'd rather spend my last few precious moments doing something else instead of twiddling on a violin.

June 17, 2010 at 08:33 PM ·

I vote with Elise. In fact, let's just empty the Little Brown Jug.

For more enjoyable Atlantic crossings, read Joseph Wechsberg's biographical accounts in "Looking for a Bluebird." The first chapter ("Pier 99") has some "little jug" adventures during the time of prohibition in the US. Wechsburg went on to write "The Glory of the Violin" 28 years after he wrote this book and 44 years after the adventures I refer to. He worked as a ships' "fiddler for a number of crossings."


June 17, 2010 at 08:49 PM ·

Maybe the Bach Chaconne. But I think I'd be better off keeping my violin in its case, and trying to use the case as a flotation device!

PS "Row your boat" - love it! lol!

June 17, 2010 at 09:29 PM ·

I have to say that my sense of self-preservation would have had me using my Musafia case (with Johannes in it) as a battering ram to ensure that I fought my way through the crowds to get on one of these lifeboats...!

June 17, 2010 at 09:50 PM ·

 "How deep is the ocean, How high is the Sky."

which I'm soon going to find out.

"And where are all those little dreams that never did come true

Cheerio and toodle-loo, ooh"

 And off course I,ll play a Paganini Caprice just to show that nothing scares me!


June 18, 2010 at 02:17 AM ·

Sorry, forgive my humour but I can't think of a better one than this one (yes again...) in the Titanic situation...

The nutcracker specially for the Captain to have crashed his boat on the deadly iceberg!!!

Thanks to the school of hard knocks, I wouldn't do a refined version!  (not to mention that I would play it at 40 on the metronome for it to last very long...)


For the others?  Vitali Chaconne, Bach E maj 2nd, Dvorak 2nd and Schindler's list (the latter being perhaps the saddest music ever written) 

Weird question to think indeed...




June 18, 2010 at 03:01 AM ·

 En Bateux (In the Boat) ----  Debussy

The Sunken Cathedral ---- Debussy

"Ah, I am Suffocating" (Aria from Opera:  Boris Gudonov) ---- Mussorgsky

"In Questa Tomba Oscura" (In This Dark Tomb - Aria from Opera: Fidelio) ---- Beethoven

June 18, 2010 at 03:50 AM ·

If I HAD to play something, it had better be fast so I could make it on to one of those lifeboats.

Flight of the Bumblebee.

June 18, 2010 at 04:12 AM ·


Handel`s Water music,   Beethoven Sprung Sonata,  and the Butterfly Stroke concerto.



June 18, 2010 at 06:51 AM ·

How about Mendelssohn's "On wings of song" - to get the heck out of there...

and if that does not work:

"I'm going down" (Norman Whitfield)

June 18, 2010 at 07:41 AM ·

As starboard disappears;

"When the Saints goes marching in" 

I won't be in that number.

June 18, 2010 at 11:28 AM ·

"Turn Out the Lights, the Party's Over."

"Yellow submarine"? by, The Beatles

"Message in a Bottle /  S.O.S." by, the Police

June 18, 2010 at 12:11 PM ·

The Bach B-Minor Mass
(By the time it's over, the rescue ship will have showed up)

June 18, 2010 at 02:43 PM ·

The Lark Ascending would work well too...

June 18, 2010 at 07:28 PM ·

Handel's water Music? Vaughan Williams's Sea symphony? La Mer?

June 18, 2010 at 07:48 PM ·

 Tears.  I would be crying, not playing.  ahaha. 

June 18, 2010 at 08:21 PM ·

I'd be too busy rearranging the deck chairs to worry about music.

June 18, 2010 at 11:36 PM ·

"Michael, Row the Boat Ashore"?

June 19, 2010 at 12:16 AM ·

I'm not sure they'd let me take my violin on the life boat.

June 19, 2010 at 01:25 AM ·

then you'd just have to find another way ...

June 19, 2010 at 09:02 AM ·

 hmmm..... definitely no List or Leakeu, perhaps something seacular rather than wholy. Maybe some Boathoven.

June 19, 2010 at 04:05 PM ·

I'd get inside a double bass and use the fiddle as a paddle.

June 19, 2010 at 04:34 PM ·

Nigel... gaaaaaggg

Perhaps you could also make a tree Bach canoe?  Or quickly use the instruments to build Moet's Ark.....

June 19, 2010 at 06:48 PM ·

 L'Albatros of Ernest Chausson ( poetry:Charles Beaudelaire)

Link of l'albatros: must be heard, really... Youtube Marie-Nicole Lemieux contralto, L'albatros


June 19, 2010 at 07:25 PM ·

"The Flying Dutchman".  Hey ya got to go out with style!

June 20, 2010 at 10:02 AM ·

Pretty cool ideas you guys have! :hahaha!:)


however, during those final moments,

Wallace was ordered to play some music to keep the passangers calm and 'warm", and i don't think by running to a lifeboat was an honored way,

he's not an official employee, instead was a hired musician,

so actually they don't have to "give up some space in the life boat", as compared the employed sailor have to, prefering all available spaces for the passangers.

he and his colleges remained onboard, and played on until the last note they can bow.


Julian: well, i think your double bass might be flooded, even before you might clear the ship, Hahaha! :LOL!

perhaps i'll just run a "test play" on those songs you guys said one by one, as some of them i've never even heard before!.


any more ideas of song that might fit mine?




June 20, 2010 at 05:31 PM ·

 "Devils Trill"

Could also double as an audition.



June 20, 2010 at 07:56 PM ·

" "Devils Trill"

Could also double as an audition."

Audition?  For the Pearly Gates Orchestra ^ ^ :)


June 20, 2010 at 08:06 PM ·

 No wrong direction;

The Fire and Brimstone Teeth Grinding Symphonia.

 who plays with a devil may care attitude

June 21, 2010 at 12:35 AM ·

Anton Rubenstein's The Ocean Symphony would be an appropriate selection...

In case anyone is interested, there is a nice novel, Psalm at Journey's End, by Erik Fosnes Hansen, a fictional account about the musicians of The Titanic.  It's well written and worth a read.

As for me, I would join Holzman and start re-arranging deck chairs.  What else could one do?


June 21, 2010 at 01:36 AM ·

Didn't Mendelssohn write a piece based on a painting called, "calm sea and prosperous voyage"? But I guess that ship would have sailed! Perhaps "15 men on a dead man's ship. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!"

But in the end, I think that Rosalind had the best idea - using the case as a battering ram to the life boats!

June 21, 2010 at 04:35 AM ·

Couldn't play on my violin on the way down - rather put him in his case, seal him in a trash bag and throw him overboard.... perhaps he will float to someone worthy of him?

June 21, 2010 at 10:04 AM ·

@Elise ;

There must be a message stuck underneath the tail piece of Doodie, what will it be?

A last will and testament, a tale of unrequited love, a secret no-one knew, a fond farewell with instructions?

Bold Venture a tale of mystery and intrigue starring .......Doodie

June 22, 2010 at 04:42 AM ·

"Down In The Swamp" perhaps? Even though sinking into a swamp would be way worse than sinking into water.

Or something by Ysaye! :)

June 22, 2010 at 10:48 AM ·

@Dion: There must be a message stuck underneath the tail piece of Doodie...

In your hands

You hold

A lady’s last love



June 22, 2010 at 12:38 PM ·

 The tears are running down my cheeks.  I last had that emotion in the dentist chair.

June 22, 2010 at 04:28 PM ·

"Nearer My God to Thee"

Whether I want to be or not.......

June 24, 2010 at 02:39 AM ·


I hope it was not that painful... angstful perhaps? 

How about a Mozart concerto - well he was from Saltzburg wasn't he?

June 24, 2010 at 01:07 PM ·

What about The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?

June 25, 2010 at 12:23 AM ·

Elise, thanks. Now I'll have an exuse to eat chips while listening to Mozart!


June 25, 2010 at 12:59 AM ·

... and hamburgers too ;)

June 25, 2010 at 10:12 PM ·

 Definitely NOT "My Heart Will Go On." :P

June 26, 2010 at 12:27 AM ·

Gene:She can't sink anyways...God I am tired of her ( I know, it is not nice from a fellow of Quebec)


June 26, 2010 at 03:08 AM ·

hehehe Thats a funny question. Paganini's 5th caprice really fast cuz its fun. But I think I would be too scared and my fingers would be shaking too much. Maybe the 2nd movement of the Tchaikovsky concerto cuz that is easier to play. Im really happy cuz my Dad is bringing my violin tomarow. Ive been in hospitals and now Im in a nursing home and I havent played for 2 months. I broke 2 bones in my leg ( Tibia and Fibula? ) and then it got infected cuz ( because ) there was bone sticking out when I broke it. Im gonna play it all day.

June 26, 2010 at 10:06 PM ·

OK, all this lighthearted discussion about a terrible tragedy has gone on quite long enough.

On the other hand, "Nearer my cod to thee."

June 27, 2010 at 09:59 PM ·

That sounds a bit fishy.

June 30, 2010 at 05:34 PM ·

I read this whole discussion and laughed.

Maybe anything by the beach boys? Such as... "Don't go near the water"

June 30, 2010 at 07:32 PM ·

Smoke in the water... (If I have this title ok)  for those who enjoy smoking.

once in the deadly water who cares about "healthy" habits... 


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