"An attempt to integrate the teaching of the English language & ICT, using MUSIC as a mere pretext."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic: A Disaster at Sea

The 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster 


A disaster at sea 100 years ago

The Titanic hits an iceberg at 11:40 p.m.
(20 minutes before midnight) 
on Sunday April 14, 1912
and sinks 2 hours and 40 minutes later
into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

The sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago
is one of the biggest news stories of the last century. 
In the days after the Titanic's collision,
the tragedy dominates the pages of the many newspapers 
all over the world. However not all of them contains the same information.

On April 15, 1912, in New York City,
only 2 newspapers reports the news of the disaster of the previous night.
But they do it in a very different way. 
Today we know that one of them is right and the other one is wrong.

Have a look at the front page of the 2 mentioned newspapers of that day,
and compare the two headlines:

1) ____________________  / ___________________
2) ____________________  / ___________________

 As you can observe,
"The New York Times" is the only newspaper that publishes correctly 
that piece of news on April 15, 1912, including the list of all the passengers.

The power of music to prevent panic

Music is an important entertainment on the Titanic. 
On the night of the collision, music also figures prominently in the ship's fateful night, 
as the musicians bravely tries to calm the passengers by playing for them as they go to their lifeboats.

Apparently, the Titanic band plays until the ship goes down, 
and their last song is "Nearer, My God, to Thee".
Today, that song is the most famous and most remembered hymn 
from that tragic night, with1517 deaths -including passengers and crew.

The Heroic Musicians

 “They kept it up to the very end. Only the engulfing ocean had power to drown them into silence.”   

Although the Titanic sails from Southampton (England),
the eight members of the Titanic Band (The Wallace Hartley Band) are from Liverpool.

When the ship hits the iceberg around 11:40 p.m.on April 14,
the band has already finished playing for the night,
but they continue playing to "cheer things up a bit".

The band plays the hymn "Nearer, My God, to Thee"
 immediately before the ship sinks.

After the Titanic hits the iceberg and begins to sink,
the band starts playing music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loads the lifeboats.

 The Titanic Band continues playing until the end;
until the ship goes down.

None of the band members survives the sinking
and the story of them playing to the end is today a popular legend.

Wallace Hartley

Mr Wallace Hartley is a violinist and the leader of the Titanic's Band of 8 musicians 
that die at their posts when the ship sinks on April 15th, 1912.

Hartley is one of the three musicians who is engaged to marry in the summer of 1912.
Sadly, like many of his band mates, his intentions are to make this his last sea voyage 
and returns home to concert work instead. 

Just to finish
let's watch a powerful scene from the film "Titanic",
listen to the song "Nearer, My God, to Thee" on violin
and Wallace Hartley's last words...


It has been a privilege 
playing with you tonight.
(Wallace Hartley's last words)


What do you think of  The Wallace Hartley Band's story?
And what about the song "Nearer, My God, to Thee"?

In my opinion, 
the song "Nearer, My God, to Thee" 
is as sad & dramatic as the story of the Titanic itself. 
Do you agree?


  1. Pay attention to the use of the Present to talk about the Past...

    In linguistics, the "historical present" refers to the employment of the Present Tense when narrating past events.

    Besides its use in writing about history, especially in historical chronicles (listing a series of events), it is used in fiction, for 'hot news' (as in headlines), and in everyday conversation (Huddleston & Pullum 2002: 129-131).

    The historical present has the effect of making past events more vivid.