First of all I think the phrase is 'music soothes the savage beast" not breast. Second , for about an hour or so after the collision, most people didn't think anything serious was happening. The confidence in the ships' unsinkability was shared by a lot of people. Whether the band had played or not, I don't think this attitude would have changed much. In fact people didn't really start taking things seriously until the rockets started being shot up.
It’s quite wrong to blame the bandsmen for the death toll. Their music may well have prevented a panic, which would probably have resulted in women and children being trampled or left behind, instead of being given priority in entering the boats. The initial reluctance to enter the boats was attributable to the absence of any sign of immediate danger, not the music. The suggestion that playing music was a criminal act is rather offensive to the musicians’ memory
I don't think cows delivered 'more music' when exposed to cheery tunes, Senan. Perhaps you're thinking about milk. But you're both right and wrong, Robert. Music, indeed, soothes the 'savage breast' but also, it is said, the 'savage beast' - Congreve, Shakespeare etc. I have to say, it doesn't do much to reduce the cat's aggressiveness, and nor indeed mine when I'm feeling rather cross.
I agree with Mr Wates. The musicians were the least of the issues concerning the death toll, and lack of priority in loading the boats. No one knows who, or IF the band was ordered to play...they may have indeed brought it onto themselves to help keep order. If they didn't, I very much doubt that they would have played as long as they did. They did their part as much as the Marconi operators, the seamen and the officers to preserve order.