A Titanic Trivia

My take on the 'Song of Autumn' vs. 'Nearer My God to Thee' debate.


Just as the quintessential four people on four corners each witnessing an accident and giving four different facets in recounting the accident, the music heard during the last moments of the Titanic may be a similar matter. I understand many witnesses close to the ship felt NMGTT is what was played. Of course, they could have been mistaken, "Song of Autumn" [] and "Nearer My God to Thee" do have some similar melodic thoughts and sonorities.

I hear people using terms such as "research has shown" and "true survivor accounts", which suggest to the relatively uninitiated (like me) that a fairly large body of study, opinion and, yes, even dogma has grown around various aspects of the Titanic story. Indeed, opinion seems almost to bifurcate along philosophical/theological lines. One camp claims: "The sheet music to 'Autumn' was known to be on board, NMGTT's music was not." The other camp responds, "No one was using sheet music in those last moments while the ship was angling and sinking".

It does seem a bit random to me that people would play a popular song such as 'Autumn' as the end was upon them as compared with the more benedictory NMGTT: A popular hymn most folks knew by heart. So, unless there is new "proof", I went with what seems to me to be a more logical Titanic-world-view. Besides, I've yet to run across a wax cylinder recording of "Song of Autumn".


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