In this short movie, memories of the Titanic are recalled. These are introduced through the hands of a pocket watch, stopped at 2.20am the time Titanic sank.
The following KS2 musical activity provides material for a series of lessons, leading to composition and performance of an imaginary tour of the Titanic wreck. It is one of a number of composition activities based on the Titanic, and is inspired by the example of the late David Bedford, a tireless supporter of musical composition in schools.
A 'prequel' Building the Titanic interprets Harland and Wolf's Belfast shipyard in sound, and imagines a visit by Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, and Thomas Andrews, Titanic's designer. This may be found in the curriculum resources at www.thewreckofthetitanic.com
The discovery of the wreck of the Titanic two and a half miles under the Atlantic was made possible through new underwater technology. In 1986, a remote controlled robot called Jason Junior (JJ) swam around and inside the wreck taking still pictures and video.
• Explore, choose, combine and organise musical ideas within a musical structure suggested by JJ's tour of the Titanic
• Use ICT to capture and change sounds
• Combine and organise musical elements
• Record, and perform their music with a graphic score
• Introduce the activity with images of the wreck of the Titanic today. Excellent video content may be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/titanic/the_journey/exploring_the_wreck/
• Children to imagine visiting the Titanic wreck. What will they encounter at those depths? (pitch black/intense cold/intense pressure)
• Why are underwater robots used to explore the wreck in place of divers? (divers and their equipment could not withstand the enormous pressures at these depths)
• Find out about some of the objects that have been/might be discovered. These include
d) Titanic's three tone whistles
e) Musical box
• Discuss the objects the robot camera meets as it explores the Titanic. Consider ways of describing these through sound. The children will work in groups, each exploring one of the objects. Possible starting points are suggested for each of these:
The Titanic's three enormous whistles were audible over great distances. Children might suggest these with recorders, other wind instruments, or appropriate electronic keyboard sounds. Try recording these with appropriate sound editing software (e.g. Audacity) lowering the pitch to suggest the deeper toned whistles of the Titanic, Consider adding other effects, like echo. (See David Ashworth's article at www.thewreckofthetitanic.com for further starting points, and ways of using Audacity)
Rusticles are strange stalactite-like growths on iron formed by the oxidising action of bacteria. Spectacular growths can be seen on Titanic's anchor. Would children expect rusticles to make dull or ringing sounds if struck? Will the length of rusticles affect their pitch? Can children select instruments or soundmakers to suggest these?
The SOS distress ... _ _ _ ...consisted of three short sounds/ three long sounds /three short sounds tapped out on a morse key. Practise this pattern on single chime bars using the side of the thumb to damp the vibrations when playing short sounds. Try passing the message from player to player. Try playing it together (this presents quite a challenge!)
As the Titanic sank, the heavy boilers ripped through the hull of the Titanic, ending up scattered over the Debris field. Explore drums and large tambours to create hollow, resonating sounds. Compare different qualities of sound made by using fingers/different beaters.
As the Titanic struck the iceberg, first class passengers reported that the glass chandeliers shivered. Explore language, and a range of instruments to describe their movement and sound (Bell sprays, windchimes, etc). In the wreck of the Titanic, surviving chandeliers are moved by underwater currents.
• Each group goes on to record their music with a graphic score. Some children may need help with representing their ideas clearly.
Putting it all Together
• Think about the way the robot submarine camera travels around the wreck of the Titanic. Discuss the quality of movement (eg. rapid and jerky or smooth, gliding movements). Compose a short, repeated musical phrase (ostinato) to suggest the robot camera exploring Titanic's wreck. This could be an opportunity to use chime bars to explore interesting melody patterns available with whole tone scales (C D E Fsharp Gsharp B flat (or A sharp) C')
• Imagine that the Robot camera is vising the Titanic, and viewing each object in turn. Begin with the 'exploring music' (outlined above), then follow this with the music for one of the musical episodes (eg boiler music) As the remote camera travels to the next object, resume the exploring music, following with music forv the next object encountered and son on.
• Practise and refine the performance of the Undersea Tour of the Titanic
• Children could record The Undersea Tour of the Titanic using Audacity.
• They could on to incorporate this as the soundtrack to a photostory presentation.
• Do compositions exhibit clear musical structures and imaginative use of sound?
• Are musical elements (dynamics/tempo, etc) explored appropriately and effectively?
• How effectively do graphic scores represent the music?
CD Rom: CQD-SOS>Lifeboats-Women and Children First!
by Kara Smallman
"It was reported today that the unsinkable White Star Liner the Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15th with the tragic loss of life of over 1500 people. 712 have survived." - Newspaper Report
Your task is to produce a report for the Board of Trade Enquiry into the safety of lifeboats using the information on this sheet.
1. How many people died?
How many survived?
2. How many lifeboats were actually needed for Titanic's passengers and crew? (pretend that they are all full size lifeboats, each able to carry 65 passengers)
3. Work out the total number of spaces available for passengers and crew in the Titanic's lifeboats?
The Titanic did in fact carry enough lifeboats according to the law at that time. People thought that other ships would always be nearby to rescue people in an emergency. And of course, the Titanic was unsinkable - wasn't it?
Titanic carried 20 lifeboats. These included
• 2 emergency boats that could each carry 40 people
• 14 full size lifeboats that could each carry 65 people
• 4 collapsible lifeboats that could each carry 47 people
The Titanic offered passengers the most modern technology and greatest comfort. On her first voyage from Southampton to New York, she carried 2207 people including crew and passengers. First class passengers could enjoy the swimming pool, the gym, the Turkish bath (like a spa) and could choose from different restaurants and cafes.
Third class rooms were thought very luxurious, as passengers had sinks in their rooms. On most ships of the time, even first class passengers shared bathrooms, so for the Titanic's third class passengers thought they were very lucky indeed!
1. 712 survived 1495 died.
324 1st class passengers, 201 survived.
277 2nd class passengers, 118 survived.
708 3rd class passengers, 181 survived.
885 crew members, 212 survived.
13 postmen/musicians, none survived.
Grand total: 2,207 on board, 712 survived.
2. 34 boats
3. Spaces on board for 1178
CD Rom>Dinner and Dance-Iceberg!>Iceberg Dead Ahead!
The British and United States enquiries into the Titanic disaster interviewed lookouts Archie Jewel, George Symons, Reginald Lee and Frederick Fleet. Fleet and Lee were on duty when Titanic struck the iceberg. Their evidence can be found at www.titanicinquiry.org
Reginald Lee's testimony was given on day 4 of the British enquiry, and Frederick Fleet's on day15. Frederick Fleet also gave evidence on days 4 and 5 of the United States enquiry.
Frederick Fleet's account on the CD Rom is taken from testimony given at the American enquiry.
At 10pm on April14 1912, Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee began their watch. They were told 'to keep a sharp look out for ice and growlers' (small icebergs). Just after seven bells (about 11.30pm), the ship passed through a patch of mist. On the other side, Fleet saw the dark shape of an iceberg. He rang the bell in the crow's nest three times, and telephoned the bridge with the message 'Iceberg dead ahead'. Although the Titanic's engines were put into reverse, it was too late to alter course, and the ship's starboard bow grazed the iceberg, pieces of ice falling on the deck. The lookouts thought it had been a near miss, the fate of the Titanic was sealed.
Although Fleet survived the Titanic, he seems to have left the White Star service a few months later as, according to his biography in www.encyclopediatitanica.com, surviving Titanic seamen were not welcome on board White Star ships.
In later life, Fleet sold newspapers in the streets of Southampton. He finally committed suicide in 1965.
Activities for the Classroom
- Compare Frederick Fleet's and Reginald Lee's accounts of the night of April 14 1912 given to the British Enquiry
- How do Frederick Fleet's accounts to the British and US enquiries differ?
- Why did Frederick Fleet find it difficult to say how big the iceberg appeared or how far away it seemed?
- The lookouts on the Titanic had no binoculars. Why not? (See the Key by Robert Edmonds) - http://www.maritimequest.com/liners/titanic_the_key_by_robert_edmonds.htm
- Frederick Fleet thought binoculars would have helped him spot the iceberg sooner. Do you think he was right?
- What clues might the lookouts have noticed to warn them that an iceberg might be nearby?
- In 1912, experienced and alert lookouts played an important part in ensuring the safety of ships crossing the Atlantic. Find out the duties of a lookout and write a job description
- In 1912, ships depended on the sharp eyes of the lookouts to warn of dangers ahead. What extra safety features do ships have today?
- The iceberg that sank the Titanic was called a 'blackberg'. Find out what this is
- Discuss why Titanic crew like Frederick Fleet might not be welcome on White Star ships
- Tell the lookouts' story of the iceberg drawing on evidence to both enquiries. (See Richard Krebes' online article cited below)
New York Times April 21 1912
Account of warnings from crows' nest to the bridge of the Titanic
Defending Fleet and Lee: Richard Krebes
Description of lookout's duties, and a very thorough defence of Fleet and Lee. Krebes retells the story of the lookouts drawing on evidence from the enquiry
image of Frederic Fleet taken from Wikipedia
CD Rom>Dinner and Dance - Iceberg>The Iceberg
Due to a faulty hyperlink, this section must be accessed in the following way:
- Dinner and Dance - Iceberg>Iceberg Dead Ahead
- Go to the Astern/Ahead navigation (top right hand corner) and click 'Astern'
This section describes the life on an iceberg in the North Atlantic, and the process of melting and calving as it drifts south towards the shipping lanes.
After the British and American enquiries following the Titanic disaster, North Atlantic shipping lanes were moved further south. In 1913, the American and British governments established the International Ice Patrol (IIP). This service monitors and warns shipping about icebergs in the North Atlantic. During the ice season, long-range patrol aircraft scour thousands of square miles of ocean looking for icebergs that could be a danger to ships.
Weather conditions and ocean currents around the Newfoundland Grand Banks affect iceberg drift. The IIP asks ships to report any ice they see, and also to send weather reports and take sea surface temperature readings. All this information feeds into a sophisticated computer programme designed to predict the movement of icebergs.
Today, Coast Guard cutters move icebergs out of the shipping lanes. Every year on April 15, the International Ice Patrol hold a memorial service for the Titanic, and an aircraft drops wreaths of flowers into the water.
Activities for the Classroom
- Find out about the work of the International Ice Patrol
- The North American and Canadian Ice services now produce a regularly updated iceberg chart. Find out about this at http://www.uscg-iip.org/pdf/NAIS_CHART.pdf
- Invent, and make a co-ordinates game in which ships travelling from Southampton to New York steer a course to avoid icebergs
- Research the effect of melting ice on sea levels. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100428142258.htm
- Can we drink iceberg water? How do we know?
- Does ice melt at different rates in salt and fresh water? Design an experiment to find out using ice cubes. Think of other ways ice cubes might help us find out more about icebergs.
- Half fill two identical plastic bottles with water. There must be exactly the same amount of water in each. Mark the level of water on the outside of each bottle. Now put one of the bottles in the freezer overnight. Compare the water levels next day. What has happened and why?
- Newspapers at the time said the iceberg Titanic struck was about as tall as St Paul's Cathedral. Research eyewitness accounts of the iceberg, and think of other helpful comparisons to give an idea of its size and mass
- The biggest icebergs are in the Antarctic. Find out just how big these can be
In the film Titanic II, melting at the Greenland Ice Cap creates an iceberg the size of Manhattan. As this falls into the sea, it creates a Tsunami. Although this is pure science fiction, children could
- Research global warming at the poles
- Research the effect of melting ice in the Atlantic. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100428142258.htm
International Ice Patrol (schools' pages)
Webquest's Iceberg Ahead!
How High was the iceberg and other questions
iceberg images courtesy of Martin Prescott
CD Rom: Dinner and Dance >Building the Titanic>Biggest Ship Afloat
CD Rom: Dinner and Dance - Iceberg! >The Iceberg
Due to a faulty hyperlink, this section must be accessed in the following way:
- Dinner and Dance - Iceberg>Iceberg Dead Ahead
- Go to the Astern/Ahead navigation (top right hand corner) and click 'Astern'
As the winter of 1911 - 1912 had been very mild, icebergs breaking away from the Arctic glaciers had drifted south towards the busy Atlantic shipping lanes. The Titanic's radio officers received several ice warnings, and two crew members were posted to 'keep a sharp look out for the ice'. Although it was a perfectly clear night, the Titanic passed through a patch of mist to face an iceberg straight ahead. Despite attempts to turn the ship, the Titanic scraped against the iceberg, tearing a 30 metre gash in her hull.
iceberg photo courtesy of Oskar Henriksson
Ice makes an incredible variety of sounds. Coleridge's description in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is inspired by the accounts of early polar explorers.
The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled
Like noises in a swound
In The Wreck of the Titanic, David Bedford provides a group composition activity for ice based on some of these early accounts.
As large icebergs drift south and slowly melt, huge chunks of ice break off and fall into the sea, creating smaller icebergs. The sound is like a tremendous crack of thunder.
Sometimes, icebergs close together scrape against one other to make strange grinding sounds.
Melting icebergs make a fizzing sound as air bubbles trapped in the iceberg pop. Pieces keep breaking off as icebergs drift further south until they become very much smaller. These are called 'bergey bits'. Bergey bits less than a metre high are called 'growlers', and are not a danger to shipping.
- Icebergs make sounds outside the range of human hearing. Teachers can find out about 'singing icebergs' at Andreas Bick's Silent Listening site (unfortunately, the movies will not be available for classroom use)
- Children will be interested in the ice musical instruments of Norwegian musician and sculptor Terje Isungset.
- The International Ice Patrol was set up after the Titanic enquiry to alert shipping in the North Atlantic. There is an excellent children's site detailing the life of icebergs.
Activities for the Classroom: Sound Log
A ship's log is an important record of everything that happens on a ship's voyage. It is filled in daily, and records the weather, the ship's course, distance covered each day, etc. It is a bit like the 'black box' of an aircraft.
Children could compose their own 'sound log' plotting the course of the Titanic from the time she reaches the edge of the ice field to the collision with the iceberg.
- As the Titanic reaches the edge of the ice fields, she meets with small and harmless pieces of ice. Think of words to describe the sounds they might make as the ship's bow wave disturbs them - high/ringing/ tinkling etc
- As the Titanic moves further into the ice field, she meets with very small icebergs called 'growlers'.
- The ship bumps against a 'growler', turning it over in the water. It rocks from side to side, making a ringing,'wavery' sound. Try filling a metal saucepan with a little water. Hold the handle, and tap the edge of the pan with a metal rod (e.g. triangle beater). Swill the water from side to side. What happens to he sound?
- Think of other ways to make this effect. Fill a washing up bowl with water. Strike a large triangle, and dip it in and out of the water while it is still vibrating. Can you say why the sound changes?
- Try other metal instruments like Indian bells and cymbals to suggest different sizes of 'growler' and 'bergey bits'.
- As the Titanic sails on, the ice sounds become more threatening. Create fizzing scraping, and distant, rumbling sounds as distant icebergs split, or rub against one another. You could record your sounds using free Audacity software, and add echo effects.
- As the Titanic passes through the mist, there is complete silence
- As the lookouts spot the iceberg, the ship's bell is rung three times to warn the officers on the bridge
- What sounds might the ship make as the engines are put into reverse?
- What sounds will be heard as the steel plates of Titanic's hull are torn open as the bow scrapes along the iceberg?
- Children could use Audacity to record their completed 'sound log'
- They could search the internet for ice sounds created using ICT. Although many sites are commercial, children could explore the sounds online to get ideas for creating their own sounds with Audacity. Try http://www.soundsnap.com/tags/ice
- David Bedford's Iceberg composition activity considers how the impact of the iceberg was perceived in different parts of the ship. Visit David Ashworth's Titanic Soundtracks resource at www.thewreckofthetitanic.com for ways of interpreting this using Audacity.
CD Rom: Building Titanic>Three New Ships/ Another View
CD Rom: CQD-SOS>Bruce Ismay Escapes
Bruce Ismay's part in Titanic's story remains controversial. Considered the villain of the piece by the American Press, Ismay's reputation never recovered from the disaster.
Three New Ships and Another View present accusations levelled against Ismay, including:
- Ismay's alleged determination to make the crossing in record time to regain the Blue Riband
- The issue of responsibility for Titanic's bulkheads
- Entering a lifeboat at the expense of other passengers
- That he stated the Titanic was unsinkable
Bruce Ismay Escapes describes the circumstances in which Bruce Ismay took a seat in a lifeboat, drawing on testimony to the New York Senate Titanic inquiry.
Activities for the Classroom
Hot Seating and Conscience Alley
All three scenarios provide children with opportunities for drama, and as a starting point for setting up their own Titanic enquiry in the classroom drawing on 'hot seating' techniques.
- 'Hot seating' provides excellent opportunities for children to research contrasting views of Bruce Ismay, and to explore his behaviour and motivation. If children are not experienced in this technique, it might be helpful if the teacher guides the questioning.
- 'Conscience Alley', is a helpful technique for exploring the dilemmas faced by a character. Bruce Ismay is faced with the decision to go down with the ship, or to save his own life. The class forms two lines and Bruce Ismay walks between them, listening to opposing advice. On reaching the end of the alley, he makes his decision.
A new play, The Man Who Left The Titanic tells the story of Bruce Ismay's escape in collapsible lifeboat C, and questions whether Ismay just did what anyone might have done in similar circumstances.
- Children should find out about the British and United States Senate Titanic enquiries, and consider Bruce Ismay's testimony. An online transcript can be found at www.titanicinquiry.org.
- Ismay's testimony was given on days 16 and 17 of the British enquiry, and days 1 and 11 of the Senate inquiry.
- Children could research British and American newspapers' treatment of Ismay following the Titanic disaster. Do American and British newspapers reflect similar accounts?
- Some accounts, like those that Ismay dressed as a woman to get a place in a lifeboat are far fetched. What clues are there that this is the case?
Bruce Ismay - A Personal Opinion
Clifford Ismay is the Great Grand Nephew of Thomas Ismay, father of J.Bruce Ismay. The editor wishes to thank Mr Ismay for his enthusiasm for The Wreck of the Titanic project, and for the personal view of Bruce Ismay's actions and motives which follows. Mr Ismay's observations make a valuable contribution to the Bruce Ismay debate, and should be carefully considered.
See also: Clifford Ismay's response to Lady Patten at http://www.titanicheritagetrust.org.uk/ismay-statement.htm
On 18th April 1912 RMS Carpathia arrived at pier 54 in New York carrying survivors from RMS Titanic. Among these was J Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line. But Bruce's welcome was far from friendly. By the time he arrived in New York, the American press had already accused him of cowardice, calling him 'J Brute Ismay'. This happened without Bruce having the chance to speak one word in his defence. As the American press and its readership were against Bruce Ismay, an impartial inquiry into the Titanic disaster was going to be difficult.
Why did the American press launch such a vicious campaign against Bruce? Was it only because Bruce was saved from Titanic or were there other forces at work?
I think most negative comments can be tracked back to the American press; particularly to those newspapers owned by the powerful and influential William Randolph Hearst. Hearst and Ismay had met years before in New York when Ismay was an agent for the White Star Line and they became good friends. Hearst asked Ismay to become a partner in his newspaper business, but the shy and private Ismay declined. As a result, their friendship ended.
Hearst never forgot, and in April 1912 his newspapers pursued a vicious campaign against Ismay. Stories were invented, and witnesses, wishing to strengthen dubious insurance claims for lost baggage against the company declared Bruce had in fact ordered Smith to make the crossing in record time.
An inquiry into the disaster was quickly set up at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, chaired by Senator William Alden Smith, hearing testimony from surviving passengers and crew members. Some believed that Senator Smith was not the ideal person to lead such an inquiry. The British press thought Smith as an opportunist, forcing an enquiry to gain political prestige. Smith had a reputation as a campaigner for safety on the railroads of the U.S. and he wanted to investigate any possible malpractices by railroad tycoon J. P. Morgan, Titanic's ultimate owner.
Despite both the British and American inquiries clearing Bruce Ismay, the damage had already been done by the American press, and Bruce was condemned as a villain in the minds of a large proportion of the public.
My personal opinion of Bruce Ismay is that he was not the coward he was made out to be.
Bruce was said to have ordered Captain Smith to cross the North Atlantic in record time. I do not believe this is so for the following reasons:
- Bruce Ismay was not in a position to order the Captain to do anything aboard Titanic neither would it have been in the interest of the White Star Line to do so.
- The first class passengers were a huge source of income for the company and Titanic was the most luxurious ship around. Because these passengers had paid to enjoy the comfort and opulence of the largest ship in the world they would not have been pleased to have this journey cut short by half a day or so.
- Dives to the wreck of the Titanic revealed that the last two boilers were never lit.
It is now accepted that Bruce helped with the lowering of several lifeboats and had directed many passengers toward them. Bruce left Titanic in collapsible lifeboat 'C', the last lifeboat to leave Titanic. Bruce Ismay only boarded this lifeboat after he had done all he could to help everyone aboard. When Bruce boarded this lifeboat there was no woman or child near, and when that lifeboat left Titanic there were seats available for others if they chose to use them. If Bruce had not entered that lifeboat, no one else would have been saved.
I feel that Bruce Ismay knew that Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews, the ship's designer would not survive. He probably did not know how many, if any, of the ship's officer's would survive. Bruce will have been well aware that someone well acquainted with the ship and the moments leading to, and after the disaster would be called to answer questions and to ensure that such a disaster could not happen again. Given the absence of the captain, the ship's designer and some, if not all of the ship's officers, he alone would be the person best placed to do this.
I believe that J Bruce Ismay was not the coward he was made out to be, and to some extent the reverse was true. I also believe that Bruce acted to the best of his ability in helping with the lifeboats and passengers, and certainly did not save his own life at the expense of others.
© Copyright Clifford Ismay 2011
image of J Bruce Ismay from Wikipedia
CD Rom: Dinner and Dance - Iceberg! > Miss Wendy Sharrock Entertains...
In David Bedford's The Wreck of the Titanic, first class passengers are sitting down to dinner when the Titanic strikes the iceberg. The band play a medley of songs made popular in British Music Hall and American Vaudeville theatres. As the band stops playing to tune their instruments, there is a hardly noticeable judder as the iceberg scrapes the hull. Although the band keeps playing, louder and more frequent interruptions as the water pours into the ship eventually drown out the music.
British Music Halls attracted Victorians and Edwardians from every social class. Variety acts included singers, comedians, acrobats and magicians. Comic songs and routines about working class life were very popular. If it wasn't for the 'ouses in between reflects overcrowded living conditions.
Performers like 'Champagne Charlie' (George Leyburn) poked fun at wealthy and spoilt young men, singing comic songs about the life styles of the fabulously rich, and the fashionable places they had to be seen in.
By the end of the Victorian era, the 'Theatre of Varieties' was hugely popular, and big and glittering halls sprang up across the country. Music Hall had become so respectable that in 1912, George V attended the first Royal Variety Performance at London's Palace Theatre. The USA's equivalent of Music Hall was Vaudeville, a popular form of entertainment. Vaudeville and Music Hall songs were big business, and the area of Manhattan where music publishing businesses congregated, was nicknamed Tin Pan Alley. By 1912, Ragtime music was all the rage, and ragtime songs like Alexander's Ragtime Band and Oh You Beautiful Doll were hits on both sides of the Atlantic.
Learn the following songs:
- 'Oh You Beautiful Doll'
- 'Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside'
Miss Wendy Sharrock is an imaginary Music Hall starlet crossing the Atlantic to make her fortune in Vaudeville!
Third class passengers on the Titanic had no band, but probably organised their own informal entertainments. Titanic's steerage passengers could play the piano situated in the third class salon, and a number of passengers travelled with instruments, including the Irish piper, Eugene Daly. It is likely that Music hall and Vaudeville songs might well have been sung, and comic monologues from music halls might also have been performed. Given the range of different nationalities, a range of folk and popular songs from Scandanavia, etc. could well have been performed at impromptu gatherings.
(You may remember that James Cameron includes a wild Celidh in the 1997 film!)
- Make up your own third class variety concert. Find out, learn and include some music hall songs. Here are some possibilities:
Ta-ra-ra- Boom-de-ay! Harry Sayers (1891)
Daisy Bell : Harry Dacre (1892)
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside: John Glover-Kind
My Old Man said follow the van
- You could include comic poems, play music on instruments, tell jokes and even perform some magic tricks. Can anyone perform Irish or Scottish dances?
- Victorian and Edwardian audiences liked puns and jokes that we might not think funny. Here are some examples:
a) What's the difference between a stoat and a weasel?
I don't know. What is the difference between a stoat and a weasel?
A weasel's weasely recognised, but a stoat is stoatally different!
b) Do you serve lobsters?
We serve anybody, sir!
- Find out about Music Halls that existed in your area
First and Second class entertainments tended to be more organised affairs. This programme, from the White Star liner Adriatic includes songs, piano solos, poetry recitals, a solo dancer and a magician! The ship's orchestra introduce the concert with an overture, and probably accompanied the singing of the National Anthem to end the concert.
The tradition of the ship's concert went back a long time on the Cunard and White Star lines. These often took place near the end of a voyage. Apart from the orchestra, performers were first class passengers. These were often amateurs, but occasionally famous Music Hall stars or Opera Divas travelling first class might be persuaded to perform. A programme from Cunard's Lusitania, in which Wallace Hartley performed, includes two songs by the internationally famous Vesta Victoria.
A chairman and concert committee was appointed from among the first class passengers, and a collection was taken for for Seamen's charities, usually by two elegant female passengers carrying baskets decorated with ribbons.
- Appoint a chairman and concert committee
- Can Wider Opportunities groups provide an orchestra to introduce the concert?
- Find out what acts children in the class can offer.
- Plan your first class concert and create a programme
- Perform the concert as part of a dinner on board the Titanic (see Dining on the Titanic)
David Ashworth is a freelance education consultant. He is recognised nationally as a leading figure in ICT in Music Education and as the Project Leader for the groundbreaking website, teachingmusic.org.uk. He is currently leading a number of projects in the North West of England and elsewhere on the use of ICT in live performance.
In this resource, we outline a method for creating and recording a soundtrack.
Soundtracks can provide a highly effective backdrop for:
- a live musical performance
- a slideshow of photographs or pictures created by the pupils (see Titanic Tributes: Magic Lantern resource on this website)
- a video
- live drama or storytelling
Sounds can be recorded and layered using a microphone and simple sound editing software.
In this exemplar, we are going to consider a sequence of five key episodes from the Titanic story. These were the ones used in the original commission by David Bedford. The five sections are:
1. Night stars
5. Night stars (a reprise of section 1)
- PC or Mac Computer
- Audacity sound editing software (free download from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ )
- Download Tim Brook's guide to using Audacity in schools, if you are unfamiliar with this software from http://www.teachingmusic.org.uk/story.aspx?lngStoryID=14649 (if you do, please leave Tim a thank you comment!)
- A computer microphone (a reasonably good quality USB condenser microphone such as the Samson CO1-U gives excellent results)
- Laptop projector and speakers
Activities for the classroom
Here are some suggestions for creating soundtracks for each section.
1. Night stars
Contrary to what many people may think, the Titanic disaster happened on a clear and relatively calm night at sea. The first section therefore sets this scene. We are trying to capture the dark sky and the deep, calm, gently undulating sea. Watch the videoclip http://www.thewreckofthetitanic.com/2010/05/sample-launching-titanic.html to see how David Bedford composed his music for this opening section.
First of all discuss with the pupils what sort of sounds are needed to create this atmosphere. High or low? Loud or quiet? Long or short? What about timbre and texture?
A background 'wash' of sound can be created using one or preferably more keyboards. Strings or synthesizer (pad) sounds can be highly effective. Consonant groups of notes, widely spaced, played gently and sustained. Keyboard chords can sound especially effective if one student holds a group of notes and another student is slowly moving the volume control higher and lower to create the effect of movement. Record this layer to your first track on Audacity.
On top of this background layer of sound, think about ways in which sound can be used to evoke the twinkling stars. What would be appropriate instruments? How would you play them? Rehearse these over the recorded background and record as a separate track (or tracks) when you are happy with the result.
This section can be more ambitious. First of all create and record some appropriate background layers reflecting the change in mood or atmosphere. This section might start with a calm, restful 'elegance' - reflecting the scenes on board the ship - gradually becoming more tense as the danger unfolds. Consider using some eyewitness accounts as a stimulus for creating the sounds required for this section of the composition:
- I was awakened by a long grinding sort of shock. It was not a tremendous crash, but more as though someone had drawn a giant finger all along the side of the boat.'. (Lady Duff-Gordon, surviving passenger.)
- 'It was a loud grinding crash and it shook the boat like a leaf' (Mrs Henry E. Stengel, passenger survivor.)
- 'Although there was quite a jar, I thought the trouble was slight'. (William E. Carter, surviving passenger.)
Each one of these statements can be used by small groups for mini composition projects.
Sounds you might want to consider include 'classroom' instruments; instruments the pupils play (opportunity for including Wider Opportunities groups here); voices and 'found sounds'.
The music you create could include original composition; snatches of music that was actually played on or is associated with the Titanic story; sounds which capture specific effects. For example:
- the booming of a big drum played slowly
- tinkling triangles
- trills on recorders
It can be challenging to find sounds in the classroom that adequately capture the enormity and drama of these apocalyptic events. This is where the sound processing capabilities afforded by Audacity are especially helpful. Use options from the effects menu to dramatically transform your 'classroom' sounds:
Students will enjoy transforming their recorded sounds using a 'trial and error' approach. You may find change pitch; change speed; reverse; echo and reverb particularly useful. Here are a few suggestions to explore:
- Any vocal sounds that are considered appropriate
- A plastic water bottle containing some water. Squeeze and shake the bottle
- Crumpling cellophane or newspaper
- Rattling a bunch of keys
Note: Reverb can be tricky to work with in Audacity. Downloading this chart is recommended http://www.teachingmusic.org.uk/resource/15344
You may also want to add recitation of fragments of the eyewitness accounts to another layer in recording this section.
It is recommended that you refer to our website Teacher Resources Morse Code Distress Calls and Morse Code CQD-SOS before beginning this section.
In contrast to the first two highly abstract sections, there is an opportunity to explore some rhythm work here. Aim for a multi layered 'collage' of different Morse signal rhythms. These signals can be generated electronically using the Compose World software (or find an online Morse code translator). Record and manipulate these sounds in Audacity. In addition, pupils could learn to play some of these distress call rhythms on conventional instruments, which are then recorded.
The Titanic story tells of scrambled messages which were misinterpreted. Use Audacity to transform, develop and 'corrupt' some of your recorded rhythm patterns. Perhaps you could delete some notes from the pattern, reverse or stretch some sections etc. The resulting music could sound quite minimalist with a sense of urgency and possible chaos and panic.
Listen to the interview with David Bedford on the CD ROM, where he talks about the use of Morse rhythms in his composition.
Approach this section as for section 2. Again, an eyewitness account can provide an effective starting point:
From the eyewitness account of Lady Duff-Gordon from her lifeboat:
" Suddenly I saw the Titanic give a curious shiver. The night was perfectly clear.. Then the boat's stern lifted in the air and there was a tremendous explosion. The whole forward part of the great liner dropped down under the waves. The stern rose a hundred feet almost perpendicularly. The boat stood up like an enormous black finger against the sky.. Then there was another explosion and the great stern of the Titanic sank as though a great hand was pushing it gently down under the waves. "
It might be helpful if using an account like this to create a graphic score or a storyboard. Each sentence or phrase could form a section for a group of students to work on. Here are some ideas to get you started:
5. Night stars
This is a repetition or variation on section 1. Consider a fade out on this section. This can be achieved using 'effects' in Audacity.
It would be highly worthwhile to watch the interviews with David Bedford on the CD ROM. He provides the listener with lots of ideas for composition.
Students should search out eyewitness accounts, images, recordings of music associated with the Titanic story. Many of these are readily available on the internet. See the Links section from our website. Again, the CD ROM provides a wealth of stimulating material.
CD Rom: CQD-SOS>I Cried for my Dolly
Like Victorian children, young Edwardians liked playing with toy animals, dolls, puzzles, board games, tinplate and clockwork toys, including trains and model boats. Cheaper toys produced in Germany became available to more children during this time.
Titanic survivor Edith Russell carried a toy pig-cum-clockwork music box on lifeboat 11. The pig played a tune called the Maxixe. Edith entertained children in her lifeboat with this until rescued by the Carpathia. The story is told in Gary Crew's Pig on the Titanic! Harper Collins (2005)
The Teddy Bear was introduced during the Edwardian era, taking its name from President Edward 'Teddy Roosevelt'. The Steiff toy company produced very expensive, high quality jointed bears, including Polar Bears. Daisy Spedding's Polar the Titanic Bear (1913), written for her son, tells the Titanic story from the toy bear's perspective (See A Trunk full of Souvenirs). In May 1912, Steiff produced a limited edition of 600 black 'mourning bears' to mark the Titanic tragedy.
Titanic survivor, Marjorie Collyer, described how she was woken up by her mother and made to board a lifeboat, leaving both her father and her doll behind. One of the sadder finds during undersea exploration of the Titanic was a porcelain doll's head. Could this be all that remains of Marjorie's favourite Christmas present?
In Southampton a doll was given to Amy Wiltshire, the youngest child who had lost her father in the Titanic tragedy
Frank Hornby patented Meccano, a construction toy, in 1907. Over the years, the system was developed, and survives today, although production has moved from Liverpool to France. Hornby is said to have got the idea from the metal girder bridges of the day. With Meccano, pre-drilled metal plates and strips were joined by nuts and bolts in place of rivets.
CD Rom: Building Titanic >Building the Titanic>Biggest Ship Afloat
The development of shipbuilding technology during the late Victorian era meant it was possible to build bigger and more powerful ships, capable of making quicker and smoother journeys, and providing more spacious and luxurious passenger accommodation,
In an 1899 edition of Scientific American, an artist imagines how White Star's ground breaking new ship, the Oceanic, might look if set down in New York's Broadway! Eye-catching comparisons like these provided effective advertising for competing shipping lines, and Cunard produced a twenty four-page booklet, Cunard Comparisons, comparing the dimensions of their liners to a wide range of well-known landmarks. .
At 882.5 ft long, Titanic and Olympic were described as the largest man-made moving structures ever built. Said to be as tall as an eleven-storey building, and each one-sixth of a mile long, they drew the following comparisons:
Washington monument: 555ft
Metropolitan Tower, New York: 700 ft
New Woolworth Building, New York: 750 ft
Cologne Cathedral, Germany: 516 ft
Grand Pyramid, Egypt: 451 ft
St Peter's, Rome: 448 ft
Gigantic size implied invulnerability, making the tragedy of the Titanic seem all the more unbelievable. Newspaper accounts of the disaster emphasised this by including further comparisons of the great liner's dimensions. Following the sinking of the Titanic, the April 20 edition of the Daily Sphere newspaper featured an artist's impression comparing the size of the Iceberg compared to the Titanic.
The dimensions of the Titanic have even been compared with those of Noah's Ark!
Activities for the Classroom
The dimensions of the Titanic provide a great starting point for numerous mathematical investigations.
These could include local comparisons.
In a letter to the Carlisle Journal, chemist Henry Sawyer said:
"I do not wish to write of the deplorable loss of the Titanic or of the men who died such heroes but I thought it might be interesting to some if I mentioned the following facts."
He then gave some local comparisons. The number lost he said would equal the Drill Hall packed to the doors; the length of the Titanic would be from the Steel Monument to Court Square and the length of the bridge of the vessel (92.5 feet) equal to Wetheral Viaduct.''
- Find out the height and length of London's Tower Bridge and compare with the Titanic
- Compare the length of Titanic with Cunard's Lusitania and Brunel's Great Eastern
- Compare the dimensions of the Titanic with modern liners like Cunard's Queen Elizabeth (2010) and Queen Mary 2 (2004)
- Approximately how many football fields are equal to the length of the Titanic?
- Compare the length of Titanic with the heights of the following:
Post Office Tower, London
Empire State Building, New York
21st Century Tower, Dubai
CD Rom: Dinner and Dance-Iceberg!
The quality of food served on board transatlantic ships was an important draw for passengers. For early Victorian steerage passengers, food was inedible or non-existent, and even first class passengers like Charles Dickens complained about food that was tasteless or mouldy.
By the end of the Victorian era, accommodation and catering had greatly improved on board transatlantic liners. White Star's Oceanic, Adriatic and Baltic all boasted smart first- and second-class dining saloons, along with good wholesome food for steerage passengers. New ships built for the Hamburg-Amerika line also included exclusive 'Ritz' restaurants aimed at the seriously wealthy, matching the quality of the very finest restaurants in London, Paris and New York.
Dinner and Dance-Iceberg! >Dining on the Titanic
With the new White Star liners Olympic and Titanic, White Star once again raised the bar for the competition. Ritz restaurants and French style cafés joined first, second and third class dining saloons, and White Star's president, Bruce Ismay influenced significant improvements in catering for, and in the diet of, steerage passengers.
Activities for the Classroom
Children might research:
- Food and conditions on board ship for steerage passengers in the early nineteenth century
- How perishable foods can be preserved without refrigeration.
- What difference did the introduction of steamships make to food and conditions on board ship?
- What improvements did refrigeration make?
- How healthy was the Late Victorian/Edwardian diet?
During the days of sail, crew and passengers suffered from various ailments ranging from scurvy to food poisoning, as food made to last many weeks lost its freshness and began to decay. Drying, pickling and salting were traditional ways of preserving food, and lemon and lime juice were introduced by the Navy to prevent scurvy. Perishable foods were also packed in ice.
Children could explore ways of keeping food cool without refrigeration. During the nineteenth century, transporting fresh water ice by sea from New England to Europe, and even India, became a profitable business. Children could explore methods of insulating and stacking ice so it melts less quickly
Because steamships greatly reduced the Atlantic crossing time, food did not have to last as long. Along with the introduction of refrigeration, this made a marked difference to the diets and choices offered to passengers. Olympic and Titanic had separate refrigerators for meat, fish, fruit, eggs, vegetables and dairy products, along with separate cold storage for wine, etc.
First, second and third class menus are preserved from the Titanic. These provide fascinating opportunities for children to discover what people ate during the Titanic era.
Opportunities for discussion
- Are vegetarian choices available? Why do you think this is?
First Class Menu
Dinner and Dance-The Iceberg! >First Class
Dinner and Dance-The Iceberg! >First Class Menu
Eleven separate courses were served, including dessert. The menu offered one thick soup and a clear soup, and one fish course. The fifth course was called the remove and was a roast course. This is the course children are most likely to recognise
Activities for the Classroom
Look at the first class menu.
- From the menu choose: a) a soup b) a fish course c) a sweet
- What language are the following foods written in? a) Hors d'Oevre b) Consommé c) Vinaigrette d) Ėclairs
- The meal began with hors d'oevres followed by oysters. Oysters were measured in quarts (two pints = one quart). The Titanic had 1221 quarts of oysters on board. Find out how many first class passengers were on board the Titanic, and calculate the quantity of oysters per passenger.
- Find out what a Squab is
- There are eleven course altogether. Smartly dressed waiters served each guest lots of different courses from big silver plates called platters. Do you think guests a) ate everything? b) ate just a little of everything? c) missed out some courses?
- Choose two courses you would like to eat
Second Class Menu
Dinner and Dance-The Iceberg! >Second Class
Food served in the second-class dining saloon of the Titanic and Olympic was as good if not better than first class on other transatlantic ships.
The meal begins with a savoury consommé with tapioca floating in it. If this seems strange to us, think what Edwardians might have thought of clear soup with noodles! The second-class menu might be more familiar to children as it is more like one found in a modern restaurant.
American ice cream is served instead of French ice cream. French ice cream is richer, as egg yolks are added.
Activities for the Classroom
Look at the Second Class Menu
- Choose one main dish and one dessert
- If you were having Christmas dinner, what main course and sweet might you choose from this menu?
- In the first class menu, French ice cream is served. In the second-class menu, American ice cream. Find out the difference.
Third Class Menu
Dinner and Dance-The Iceberg! >Third Class
Dinner and Dance-The Iceberg! >Third Class Menu
The third class meals for the day appeared on one menu card. Second and third class menus were postcard size, and the backs were divided with spaces for stamp, address and a short message. This was good advertising for the White Star Line.
Third class fare included cabin biscuits. These were rather like modern crackers, and were said to help with seasickness.
Activities for the Classroom
Look at the Third Class Menu
- Create menu postcards telling relatives about the food on board Titanic
- Choose three things from the breakfast menu you might like to eat
- Choose two things that seem strange to eat for breakfast
- Find out what cabin biscuits are
- What sweet also appears on the second-class menu?
- What are the healthy options on the third-class menu?
- Look again at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class menus. Which menu do you think is the least healthy?
Activities for the Classroom
Dinner on the Titanic
Every year on April 14, people remember the Titanic tragedy by preparing and sitting down to a meal based on the final dinner prepared on the ship. Children could recreate some elements of this in the classroom
a) Who will you invite? Send out handwritten invitations to your guests
b) What do you expect your guests to wear?
c) Decide what will be on the menu. How many courses will be served?
d) Make menu cards and place cards. Don't forget to include the White Star flag!
e) How will you set the tables? Decorate the tables with fruit and flowers
f) A bugler played as a signal for passengers to get ready for dinner Dinner and Dance>Roast Beef. What music will you play?
g) Will musicians play during the meal? Make a playlist for the musicians
Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley (1997) Last Dinner on the Titanic Ontario: Madison Press
CD Rom>Maiden Voyage>Jack (Third Class Passenger)
Many steerage passengers on the Titanic were emigrants like Jack, hoping to find work and better lives in the USA and Canada. Once they had arrived at New York, they expected to be questioned and 'processed' by officials at Ellis Island before being sent on their way. Unfortunately, hundreds of emigrants bound for New York on the Titanic were to meet a very different end to their journey.
What was the purpose of Ellis Island?
The registration station on Ellis Island was built in 1892. Between 1892 and 1954 (when the registration station closed), over 20 million people were processed on their way to a new life in the United States of America. In 1907 11,747 new arrivals were processed at Ellis Island on just one day.
At first, the majority of immigrants came from Germany, Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia. Gradually, more and more Jews escaped from persecution in Russia and Eastern Europe and increasing numbers of Italians emigrated to escape poverty at home. Other new arrivals came from countries such as Greece, Armenia, Turkey, Syria, Africa and The West Indies. Many immigrants spoke little or no English. Some of the new arrivals were not able to read and write in any language (5% of all the emigrants from Britain were not literate). Although some of the immigration officers could speak a range of languages, many immigrants could neither understand what was spoken to them, nor read the signs posted around the station.
What happened to the new arrivals?
Around one third of all the newly arrived immigrants set up home in New York City. The rest travelled elsewhere throughout America. Immigrants of all races and nationalities lived packed together in poor tenement houses in area such as Lower Manhatten. Look at the Lower Eastside Tenement Museum to see some of the tenants who lived at 97, Orchard Street between the years of 1870 and 1915 and to learn about where they came from, what they did to earn a living, what they ate and their health problems.
How did Ellis Island Change in the 20th Century?
After 1914 and the outbreak of the first world war America was less welcoming to immigrants from all over the world. Between 1914 -18 the station became a detention centre. During the 1920s, fewer and fewer immigrants were allowed to set up home in the United States. Immigrants were assessed in their home countries and Ellis Island became a place of detention for immigrants being sent back to their home countries.
Why did people leave their countries to begin a new life in the United States?
People moved to the United States from all over the world for many different reasons. Sometimes hunger and poverty made them leave home and try to find a better life across the sea. In 1845 the potato harvest failed in Ireland and many Irish people were starving, one and a half million Irish people left Ireland to begin again in new countries at this time. Many Italians left home after the vineyards and olive groves began to fail.
Some had to leave their homes as they were not free to follow their religion; many Jewish people came to America for this reason. Others came to find a better life. There were many new jobs in America, and as the railroads spread, new towns grew up
Railway and shipping agents advertised the new country very cleverly promising land and work and new chances. Look at the White Star Line posters enticing Europeans to begin new lives in Canada and America.
Many industrialised cities in Europe were becoming overcrowded and emigrants were very excited by the make money and have land and space. The United States of America seemed to many travellers to be a land of freedom and opportunity.
What were early immigrant ships like?
CD Rom>Maiden Voyage>Jack: Third Class Passenger
Conditions in steerage were often very bad. Many travellers must have believed the adverts from the shipping companies promising 'a six day trip on a fine ship including a plentiful supply of food'. Some travellers packed their own food and tried to make it last. Often the sea was rough, the voyage was slow and the food became worse and worse as the journey went on.
Below deck conditions were very crowded; often hundreds of people were in spaces only six or eight feet high. Men, women and children were separated by blankets hanging down the centre of the room. Many people were seasick, and it was difficult for passengers to wash. Steerage accommodation was smelly, noisy and overcrowded. On calm days, children could play on the deck and adults could get some fresh air; but in bad weather the hatch to the deck was locked to make sure that no one was washed overboard. It was often difficult to get fresh water in steerage and so in stormy weather people must have felt seasick, frightened, trapped and thirsty.
What difference did steamships make on journeys for immigrants?
CD Rom: Building the Titanic>Floating Hotels
Not everyone was allowed to stay. Some people were considered unsuitable or too poor to set up home. Between 1891and 1892, 2142 people were sent back to their home countries. If passengers were too poor to pay their fares, the steamship companies like the White Star line had to carry them free of charge.
Other new arrivals were detained for a while at Ellis Island. Women and children travelling alone were often not allowed to leave the island until a relative collected them. Other travellers who did not have enough money or were sick had to stay for a while. The steamship companies had to pay for their food each day. In 1904 each person was charged 5 cents for breakfast, 11 cents for lunch and 8 cents for dinner.
In 1904 a typical menu was: breakfast, coffee bread and butter, lunch, beef stew, potatoes and bread and pickled herrings for Jewish immigrants; dinner was baked beans, prunes, bread and tea.
Most people were not detained on Ellis Island; they left soon after they arrived. Immigration officers worked twelve hour days and staff could process twelve thousand immigrants a day.
The very first person to go through Ellis Island in 1892 was a young Irish girl, Annie Moore. She was 15 years old and had left Ireland to begin a new life with her two brothers in America.
Activities for the Classroom
- Imagine you are Annie. How did you feel as you walked into the huge new building?
First class and second-class passengers did not have to go through Ellis Island. They were interviewed briefly on board ship before they were taken to the pier to disembark. Steerage passengers had to wait on the steamship until they were told to get on to the barge or ferry that would take them to Ellis Island.
- Why were these passengers treated differently?
Look at this account from an immigrant. The questions below could support a hot seating activity.
The boat anchored at mid-bay and they tendered us off the ship to Ellis Island... We got off the boat... you got your bag in your hand and went right into the building. Ah, that day there must have been five to six thousand people. Jammed ... it was August hot as a pistol and I'm wearing my long Johns and my heavy Irish tweed suit.
- Where might this person have travelled from?
- What might he have felt on that hot August day?
- What sounds might he have heard?
- He only had one bag. What might he have packed for the start of his new life in America?
The immigrants had medical and mental tests. Then they were asked a series of questions very rapidly at times the interview often lasted only two minutes. These questions included:
- What is your name?
- What is your age?
- Are you married?
- What is your job?
- How much do you earn?
- Can you read? Can you write?
- What is your nationality?
- What city are you from?
- Where are you going?
- Who paid for your ticket?
- How much money do you have?
- Have you ever been to the U.S.A?
Although some immigration officers could speak different languages, many new arrivals must have been confused by the speed of the process and the strangeness of the language.
- Create a vocal composition based on the questions addressed to immigrants at Ellis Island. Immigrants must have been confused and distressed when bombarded by questions they may not have fully understood. We can try to recreate this through rhythmic speech. Repetition and the creation of overlapping vocal parts as question after question is added are central to creating the intended effect. Some simplification and paraphrasing of questions is advisable to create interesting and secure rhythms. Not all questions need be included.
- Questions one and two could be combined to create a steady foundation for more complex rhythms
Name? Age? (slowly)
Question 6 might take the form of a 'call and response' performed by two groups
Group 1: Can you read?
Group 2: Can you write?
- Add more complex rhythms as children become increasingly confident: e.g
Have you ever been to the USA?
- Add a percussive accompaniment to suggest officials stamping official papers accepting or rejecting immigrants.
This activity could be further developed by asking the questions in a range of languages
- Look at the images of disembarkation and processing on Ellis Island in Shaun Tan's The Arrival. This could be used as a stimulus for writing or the start of a drama. How does Tan convey the feeling of powerlessness in his images?
Immigrants were told to leave any luggage in the baggage hall as they were assessed. This must have been a frightening experience for many people, especially those who did not speak English. In many families the men husbands, fathers, older brothers went ahead to start a new life. They sent for their families later when they were settled. Luggage was very important, especially for these men, not only did it hold important items, but personal objects such as photographs and pictures, to help people to feel close to home.
- Look at the pictures at the start of The Arrival by Shaun Tan.
- Describe the scene as the father packs his case to set sail. (narrative writing)
Ellis Island is now a museum telling the story of the men women and children who passed through it on their way to a new life. One display shows the luggage of the steerage passengers. Many steerage passengers had to walk to the ports taking only what they could carry with them.
- If you could only take one small case to start a whole new life, what would you pack?
- Present the children with cases with different objects reflecting a range of cultures. These could include texts in different languages, currency, photographs of places, etc.
- Work out the origin of the immigrant from the evidence.
Poetry based on the magic box
- Think about the hopes for the future that children setting sail to start a new life might have had. These could be written individually and collated and presented as a group list poem.
'In this case I put my wishes for the future .....'
Sandra Ramov is a Cuban artist who takes old, often battered, suitcases and paints inside the hopes and dreams of those crossing the sea to start a new life. In some cases, the pictures are full of hope; in others the images represent the harsh reality of immigrant life.
Sometimes, she creates suitcases out of wood or other materials in various shapes, reflecting the hopes or experiences of the owner.
- Children could create their own suitcases from cardboard boxes, as a visual documentary charting the dreams and the nightmares of Titanic's steerage passengers.
'A Case History', John King's installation in Liverpool's Hope Street, also provides an imaginative starting point for children's own work
Allen, L. (1992) Ellis Island New York: Evelyn Hill Group
Kotker, N. et al (1989) Ellis Island: Echoes from a Nation's Past New York: Aperture Foundation
This is the second of a series of activities exploring Titanic and the Marconigraph.
They relate to the Wreck of the Titanic CD Rom> CQD-SOS>Sections 1-7
At first, Titanic Marconigraph officers sent the message
CQD DE MGY
By 1912, SOS had replaced CQD as the international distress call. This was because SOS was easily and instantly recognisable in morse: 'dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit'. Children can prove this to themselves by translating, and speaking CQD in code.
However, Marconi operators still continued to use CQD. When ships were slow to reply Titanic's CQD calls, Harold Bride joked to radio officer Jack Phillips, 'Send SOS; it's the new call, and this may be your last chance to send it!
Activities for the Classroom
Try making long and short sounds on chime bars. It's easy to make long sounds, but to make short sounds you will need to use your thumb to stop the bar vibrating.
- Practise making long and short sounds on your chime bar
- Now try to play the SOS call on your chime bar.
- Can you repeat it several times without stopping?
Once you feel confident, find five or six other people with different chime bar notes. One player is a ship needing help, and sends the SOS message. Other players are ships relaying the message.
- Try to send the message smoothly from one player to another.
- Listen to the effect of the SOS rhythm played on the different notes.
- Experiment with rearranging the notes in different orders
Try this:The first player (ship in distress) carries on sounding SOS, and the second player joins in. This continues until everyone is playing the SOS.
- Experiment with different ways of joining in
- the last player could drop out, others following one by one until only the distressed ship is left sounding the emergency signal.
- One person could act as conductor to tell each player when to start and stop
- What happens when each player plays at different speeds so the SOS signals get jumbled up?
Children could explore the 'mayday' distress call used by aircraft.
This is the first of a series of activities exploring Titanic and the Marconigraph.
They relate to the Wreck of the Titanic CD Rom> CQD-SOS>Sections 1-7
If it hadn't for the distress messages sent by Titanic's two radio officers, received and acted upon by the Carpathia, even more lives might have been lost.
When considering the part wireless played in the Titanic story, several issues should be considered. These might include:
Wireless messages were sent using the Morse system of dots and dashes. In Morse code, the dots are transmitted as short sounds and the dashes as long sounds. A short gap separates letters; a longer gap separates words.
Open the virtual morse transmitter to see the letters of the alphabet displayed as morse code. Dashes can be vocalised, or 'spoken', as 'dah', dots as 'dit'.
To begin with, trainee radio operators learned morse by 'speaking' and remembering code representations for each letter. When confident, they practised tapping out groups of letters and short messages.
'S' in morse code is represented by three dots, 'O' by three dashes.
The distress signal 'SOS' ... _ _ _ ... can therefore be vocalised as 'dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit'
Activities for the Classroom
NOTE: The subsequent activities explore Morse Code. To follow these, you need to refer to the CQD-SOS section of the Wreck of the Titanic CD Rom, opening the virtual morse transmitter ('Sending Messages'). NB: Ensure Compose Junior is installed on your computer.
Open the virtual morse transmitter. Children should spot that each letter is associated with a pattern of dots/dashes.
The dot and dash representing letter A is spoken as 'dit dah'.
- Encourage children to vocalise other letters of the alphabet
- Once they are confident with this, get them to string together groups of letters to make three - or four-letter words.
Numbers are also represented in morse code. Here are numbers one to five. Can children think why numbers are important? (recording ship's position, speed, etc).
- Can children make up simple morse messages including words and numbers?
Titanic Tributes are a series of linked activities connected with the aftermath of the Titanic disaster and attempts by the British and American public to raise money for destitute survivors and their families.
Activities relate to video content in The Titanic Sinks and Epilogue sections of the Wreck of the Titanic CD Rom
After the Titanic sank, fund raising performances took place in music halls, cinemas and theatres. These included singers, actors and musicians. Many performances told the story of the Titanic through words and music, and sometimes included a 'Magic Lantern' picture show.
Magic lantern Image courtesy of Gothic Tea Society
The Magic Lantern was an early type of slide projector. During Victorian and Edwardian times, travelling projectionists visited villages and towns putting on shows. The projectionist was often a good entertainer, and shows sometimes included acting and singing. Find out more about magic lanterns from the Magic Lantern Society
By 1912 lots of cinemas had opened, but lantern shows were still popular. Along with newspapers and cinema newsreels. the lantern was an important way of presenting news stories, especially when photographs and cine film were not available. For example, during the Boer war, skilled artists recorded their impressions of battles from the descriptions of soldiers and civilians. These would be hand coloured, and made into slides. Sets would be duplicated, and distributed to cinemas. Artist's impressions are still used on news programmes today to record courtroom proceedings, whenever photography is not allowed.
Click here to view a series of slides produced by Bamforth and Company to mark the Titanic Disaster.
The set is made up coloured 'artists impressions', photographs, and montages (a mix of the two).
- Can children sequence the Bamforth Titanic slides, describing the events of the Titanic disaster and its aftermath as depicted by the set?
- What additional slides might be created and added to enhance the Titanic narrative?
- Draw, and colour, images of the Titanic disaster. Scan them, and import the digitised images into a Photostory presentation
- Using Photostory, create a 'slide show' inspired by the Bamforth images (NB any public performance including Bamforth images MUST seek the permission of the copyright holders)
Forthcoming Titanic Tributes activities
- Adding soundtracks: David Ashworth
- Exploring storyboards: Katharine Langley-Hamel
- Recreating Saved from the Titanic: Kevin Hamel
- The Wreck of the Titanic: Jeanette Forrester
Maiden Voyage>Adele: First Class Passenger
Adele is travelling back to New York after holidaying in Europe. She has visited Paris and other European cities, and has been seen in the most fashionable resorts.
Adele is typical of the set of super rich Americans that the White Star and Cunard lines were keen to attract. They demanded the very best, and were prepared to pay huge sums of money for it.
The super rich included wealthy bankers and business people, all anxious to meet up and network. To facilitate this, White Star and Cunard published passenger lists, which were distributed to all first class passengers.
American heiress Daisy Spedding was typical of this exclusive Edwardian set. Along with her husband, Frederic, and six-year old son, Douglas, she travelled extensively on luxurious ocean liners, visiting the most fashionable resorts in the Caribbean, Africa, Panama and Europe.
In 1913, Daisy wrote Polar the Titanic Bear for Douglas. The previous year, the family had sailed on the Titanic, and survived the disaster. The narrator is Douglas's favourite toy, a Steiff polar bear, and the story is told with the aid of photographs and postcards of the places the family visited on holiday.
Although the Titanic figures prominently in the story, perhaps the most interesting aspect is the description of the carefree lifestyle of the very wealthy which was to end abruptly with the onset of the First World War.
Kaspar, Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo tells the story of Kaspar, an aristocratic cat, and Johnny Trott, the bellboy of the Savoy hotel. The pair meet up with Lizziebeth Stanton, a spirited young American heiress staying with her family at the Savoy, and after a series of adventures end up returning with them to the USA on the ill-fated Titanic.....
Activities for the Classroom
- Design a brochure to attract first class passengers to travel on the Titanic. Research the first class facilities on board Titanic. These included electric lifts, telephones, swimming pool, Turkish baths, etc.
- Find out about fashionable Edwardian resorts. These might include the seaside resorts of Deauville and Cannes
- Imagine you are a wealthy American tourist. Send postcards back home to friends and family. Perhaps younger children might send them from Polar the Bear?
- Edwardians made up scrapbooks as souvenirs of their holidays. Make up a scrapbook of your European holiday
- Crossing the Atlantic took between five and seven days. Keep a diary of your time on board ship.
Books To Read
Oh, I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside was composed in 1907 by John A. Glover-Kind. It became a very popular music hall song, and the signature tune of Reginald Dixon, the organist at Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
The song reflects the popularity of the British seaside among working class people during Edwardian times.
In The Wreck of the Titanic, Beside the Seaside is played by the Titanic's orchestra as the ship hits the iceberg. In steerage, we imagine that the song is also being sung by aspiring music hall artiste, Miss Wendy Sharrock (Dinner and Dance>The Iceberg>Miss Wendy Sharrock Entertains>I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside).
The song could lead to work centring on the Edwardian seaside. An excellent focus is the outstanding resource Morecambe and Back . Developed by CLEO and the Morecambe Bay Community Primary School, the resource provides insights for the classroom into rare footage taken around Morecambe by moving picture pioneers Mitchell and Kenyon.
'A Panoramic View of Morecambe Seafront'
'Parade: West End Pier, Morecambe'
'Panoramic View of Morecambe Sea Front (2)
'The Seafront, Morecambe'
The resource includes a wonderful soundtrack by Lancashire Sinfonietta composer in residence Michael Cutting performed by members of the orchestra and year 3 and 4 pupils. This includes a number of music hall songs including Oh, I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside performed by the children in Morecambe's Winter Gardens.
There are also interviews with Edwardian children!
The following activities relate to the Dinner and Dance section of the Wreck of the Titanic CD Rom. Please ensure that Compose World Junior is installed.
After the Titanic hit the iceberg, Wallace Hartley and his band got together in the first-class lounge on 'A' deck. They played ragtime music to keep passengers calm as they boarded the lifeboats. Some people remember them playing the popular tune Alexander's Ragtime Band, and Scott Joplin's Elite Syncopations. Finally, the musicians played on the boat deck as the lifeboats were lowered.
The repertoire of the Titanic's band included Ragtime and Cakewalks, extremely popular both in Europe and the United States.
The Cakewalk was a funny and very popular Edwardian Ballroom dance, originally invented by African Americans. The French composer Debussy included a cakewalk in his piano music , and music played by the Titanic band included a 'Comic Cakewalk' by Volstred.
During the American Civil War, marching music by composers like Sousa became very popular, as it helped soldiers to keep in step. However, African pianists played popular march tunes with a looser, jazzier (syncopated) feel. People began to grumble that it was impossible to march to this ragged-sounding music, and the name 'ragtime' stuck.
Soon, this lively music became so popular that everyone wanted to dance to it. Dances with strange names, like 'Turkey trot' and 'Grizzly Bear' were performed to Ragtime tunes all across the USA
The White Star Song Book included several arrangements of ragtime pieces by Scott Joplin and others
Listen to some of his best-known piano rags at Warren Trachtman's ragtime site.
- Open the Wreck of the Titanic CD Rom
- Visit Dinner and Dance -The Iceberg> Ragtime
- Follow the hyperlink to open Compose World Junior. The following screen should appear:
- The pictures represent the titles of Scott Joplin piano rags (left to right: reflection rag, palm leaf rag, leaping rag, maple leaf rag, sugar cane rag, pineapple rag, magnetic rag, gladiolus rag, heliotrope rag). Children could listen to most of these at Warren Trachtman's Ragtime site (see above)
- Each picture links with musical phrase in ragtime style. Click on each picture to listen
- Drag and drop pictures onto squares in the grid to create melodies. Consider which phrases suggest beginnings/endings etc
- To increase/decrease the number of squares in the grid, go to: view>sequence/options
- Children might create their own ragtime compositions, exploring simple musical forms
- Encourage children to think of a name for their ragtime compositions. Can they design a cover for their music (see cover to Maple Leaf rag)
- Compose your own selection of ragtime tunes to be performed during dinner.
Although many of the first class suites had their own baths, there were only two baths for all the third class passengers!
- Compose a 'bathtime' rag using another Compose World Junior ragtime file.
- Open Compose World Junior>File>Open>Melody>Bathtime
- Using the 'bathtime' file, compose a' Bathtime Rag' in Sonata form. You need to put together two sections of music.
- The first section (A) is repeated.
- This is followed by a different musical idea (B).
- Finally the piece finishes with the A music again. Here is an example based on the bathtime file
Children could go on to create their own dances influenced by ragtime and cakewalk.
Teachers can view dance styles of the Ragtime era
NB: Certain movements were considered scandalous at the time, and teachers should satisfy themselves of the suitability of introducing dance movements in the classroom.
By Fiona Sinclair, General Manager of the Lancashire Sinfonietta
I first heard about the Titanic orchestra when I was a young violinist of eight. As a musician, I was absorbed by their heroic watery end and daydreamed about what must have gone through their minds.
Was it a sense of duty to his captain and ship that made Band Master Wallace Hartley order them to keep performing? What made them play cheery and trite ragtimes when destruction and fear was all around them?
How long did they play believing that the ship would be rescued? How must their fingers have frozen in the cold night air and terror make their bows shake?
And when they realised that all was lost, did they choose to continue playing, so that they would spend the very last moments of their lives playing the music that they loved?
There are so many fascinating psychological aspects of this heroic act which make all musicians consider "Would I have behaved the same?".
The stories and myths of the Titanic abound and a quick Google will give you all the intrigue you could wish for.
However, I'd like to reveal an unknown story which starts with the recovery of the bruised and battered body of the Titanic orchestra's leader, Wallace Hartley.
Hartley's body was found two weeks after the ship had gone down. His music case was strapped to his chest but as the body was being embalmed for shipping back to England, the violin disappeared. Most likely it was thrown away with the rest of the wreckage, considering the scale of the clean-up operation.
His devastated father collected the body at Liverpool docks and took his sons remains back to their home town of Colne. Friends refused to believe that the body could possibly be Hartley and broke into the chapel to steal a look. The poor man's identity was confirmed and the next day his funeral consumed the town, with 40,000 people crowding the streets to pay their respects.
There was music from brass bands and the Colne Orchestra, and one of the violinists who played that day was an old friend of Hartley's. Arthur Catton Lancaster had sat next to Hartley during his days as leader of the Colne orchestra and they were friends. Moved by the tragic heroism of his colleague, Lancaster who was also an accomplished violin maker, decided to build an instrument in memory of his lost friend. The instrument was finished with a delicate oil painting of the Titanic, a cameo of Wallace Hartley on the back and a carving of "Nearer my God to Thee" on the tailpiece.
The instrument was competed for each year by the leader of the Colne orchestra who kept Hartley's memory alive by performing on it.
For a long period during the wars, there are no records of where the instrument went or who owned it. We know from close examination of the violin that it was damaged and repaired by Voight's of Manchester in the 1950's. But then the trail goes cold again.
Until in 1974, one Saturday morning at the East Lancashire Youth Orchestra (now Burnley Youth Orchestra) an anonymous benefactor walked into the rehearsal and bequeathed the violin to the orchestra. The conditions were that it should be played by the leader each year, in memory of Wallace Hartley.
For nearly 100 years, the Titanic Violin has been kept all-but a secret, played in the early 1900's by leaders of the Colne Orchestra and for nearly 40 years by aspiring young musicians in Burnley. Those who have been fortunate to have played it have felt the magic of the story and certainly had the same thoughts about the musicians actions that fateful night.
In preparation for the performance of David Bedford's epic new work "The Wreck of the Titanic", we uncovered the story and have learned a great deal about this most unique Titanic Memorial. Now we can finally tell the tale.
The author of our spectacular Titanic CD Rom, Kevin Hamel, has captured the story in his work, available from www.tuned-in.org. This will be shared with primary schools through Liverpool, Lancashire & Cumbria Music Services. The resource brings the story to life for schoolchildren and preserves a fascinating chapter in the history of the North West.
The violin has since been beautifully restored by Paul Parsons of David Vernon Violins in Manchester. He has ensured the violin is fit for another 100 years of service.
The restoration revealed a very personal dedication written deep inside the body of the violin. It had never been read since the day the maker sealed the instrument in 1912.
The Titanic musician's story became one of the most recounted tales after the disaster and gave focus to a huge outpouring of grief across the country. Hundreds of memorial services took place, culminating in a massive charity concert given by all the London orchestras conducted by Sir Henry Wood and Sir Edward Elgar at the Royal Albert Hall.
In the approach to the 100-Year Anniversary of the Titanic disaster, the Titanic Violin is a unique living memorial to those eight brave musicians. They perished in an event which will captivate imaginations forever and they died in the ultimate sacrifice - to their beloved music.