Those who traveled in Titanic’s First Class saw the bandsmen only in a professional capacity, while performing in a particular place at a particular time. Most accounts from First Class passengers mentioned the band in a general sort of way. Helen Churchill Candee’s account described the listening audience more than the bandsmen themselves.But as the…… Continue reading Titanic’s bandsmen as documented by survivors
Before we launch into the challenge of figuring out which musical instrument Percy Taylor played, let us sit back for a moment and take stock of the progress made on identifying Titanic’s bandsmen so far:Titanic’s trio consisted of three stringed instruments, making it a “string trio” with: First violin, bandmaster (of the trio) – Jock…… Continue reading Titanic’s quintet: Which part did Taylor play?
In Titanic lore there have always been two pianists listed in the instrument lineup. Posters and photomontages of Titanic’s bandsmen that were printed after the disaster identified Theodore Brailey and Percy Taylor as the two. Amalgamated Musicians’ Union poster of Titanic’s bandsmen, 1912 Though there were likely several musicians who could play the piano, it…… Continue reading Titanic’s quintet: Who was the pianist?
Three of the four musicians on board Titanic credited with playing cello were members of the five-piece band: Theo Brailey, Percy Taylor and Wes Woodward. It would have been highly improbable for an ensemble of only five players to have more than one cellist, so it is necessary by process of elimination to decipher which…… Continue reading Titanic’s quintet: Who was the cellist?
Titanic sailed with two small ensembles, a piano quintet and a string trio. A standard instrumentation for these instrument groupings would normally require only one cello each, with a total of two cellos on board. One of Titanic’s Second Class passengers, Juliette Laroche, identified the instruments she heard in a concert by the quintet on…… Continue reading Titanic’s quintet: How many cellos?
Wallace Hartley Titanic’s best-known musician has always been Wallace Hartley. It should be clarified that he became well known after Titanic sank, after the final brave performance. On the voyage itself he was simply one of the esteemed musicians who drew the attention of the ship’s more musical passengers, but was otherwise anonymous, not known…… Continue reading Titanic’s quintet: Wallace Hartley, violin and bandleader
In reading about Titanic’s bands you may come across the puzzling information that J. F. P. (Fred) Clarke, who played double bass, also played the viola on the Titanic. It is hypothetically possible that he was capable of playing more than one instrument, as some musicians are, but it is unlikely that he alternated between…… Continue reading Titanic’s quintet: J. F. P. Clarke, contra basso
The main reason Titanic’s bandsmen gained the attention and affection of the public was because of their final performance. The tale of their sacrifice cast them as heroes, for in the tale they played a hymn of comfort for the souls doomed to die that night. Rightly so. Wallace Hartley’s name became forever associated with…… Continue reading Titanic: Did Hartley or Hume have the better job?
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence which helps divide Titanic’s musicians into the two bands is a quote that came from C. W. & F. N. Black, the brothers who managed Titanic’s music including the hiring of musicians. To begin with, Charles Black referred to the bands as a “saloon orchestra” and a…… Continue reading Titanic’s saloon orchestra, deck band and leaders
Two men have been called bandleader on Titanic: Wallace Hartley and Jock Hume. The former has been accepted as such for more than a century, and has usually been placed in Titanic’s quintet as bandleader of that ensemble, and has also been attributed as overall leader of all eight musicians on board. Jock Hume has…… Continue reading Who was bandleader of Titanic’s trio?