Songs and Music

J Sheehan

Member
Aug 23, 2019
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Cork, Ireland
What songs would have been sung board Titanic during her voyage?

I know the First Class had a songbook with more than 350 songs, (if anyone knows them, please post a list of them, thanks :) ), but would an sea shanties have been sung either by the passengers or crew?

Here's two of my favourite sea shanties;


And a different version of Spanish Ladies:

 

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
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Glasgow, Scotland
You can read the entire repertoire for Hartley's orchestra here on ET:


The orchestra wasn't just for the first class passengers. They also played for the second class passengers too.

There was a piano provided for the use of third class passengers in their general room IIRC. Third class passenger Eugene Daly won admiration from his fellow passengers for performing beautiful Irish airs on deck with his uilleann pipes.

Hymm services were held in first and second class on April 14th.

As they rowed steadily toward the Carpathia, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) it was Lowe's boat fourteen in which the occupants sang "Pull For The Shore Sailor" to buck up their spirits.

Now I wasn't there - but I suspect that the crew in their respective mess rooms may have enjoyed singing the popular songs of the music hall's. Songs made famous by stars of the day such as George Robey, Marie Lloyd, Harry Lauder etc. It's perfectly possible they enjoyed a few old fashioned sea shanties too. We'll just never know.

The firemen and trimmers according to Frank Goldsmith (who was somehow able to sneak a peak at them) sang as they worked. Young Goldsmith may have been a bit too young to understand some of the rather salty words and phrases in their songs though !
 
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Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
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Glasgow, Scotland
Do you mean on a phonograph or a gramophone ? I'm reasonably confident that they didn't have anything like that in their mess rooms.

It's not inconceivable that one or two of their number could have "done a turn" for their shipmates in the seamen's mess or the firemen's mess with a song or a mouth organ. Who knows what happened ?

Unfortunately, whilst the passengers were frequently quizzed about what they got up-to on board pre-sinking, the surviving members of the crew were rarely asked what their own quarters and food were like, how they amused themselves, what they thought of the passengers, how they got on with the senior crew and who the characters of the lower decks were. That was a missed opportunity.
 
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If you went to camp as a lad or lass of the 1950s I can almost guarantee that at least one time you sang this song around a campfire.


-- David G Brown
 

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
277
114
43
Glasgow, Scotland
If you went to camp as a lad or lass of the 1950s I can almost guarantee that at least one time you sang this song around a campfire.


-- David G Brown
One of my favourite writers, Jan Morris, in her book "Trumpets Fade" described witnessing a choir of African schoolchildren singing that song at a mission in East Africa during the 1950s.