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"The most important artefact relating to the Titanic to ever emerge"
March 14, 2013 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Experts have declared that a violin found in an attic in 2006 is indeed the one on which Wallace Hartley played "Nearer My God to Thee" as the Titanic sank.
posted by Copronymus (22 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy shit.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:13 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Gentlemen, I bid you farewell!"
.
posted by Fizz at 11:14 AM on March 14, 2013


I'd love to know what it sounds like. Stradivarius violins are known to have been made with wood soaked in salt water.
posted by LN at 11:16 AM on March 14, 2013


What entropicamericana said. God damn.
posted by Melismata at 11:18 AM on March 14, 2013


Are they going to throw it into the ocean at the end of the movie?
posted by Chuffy at 11:20 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fucking awesome.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:25 AM on March 14, 2013


I'd love to know what it sounds like.

From the article: "Major Renwick thought I would be best placed to make use of the violin but I found it virtually unplayable, doubtless due to its eventful life.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:25 AM on March 14, 2013


From the article: "Major Renwick thought I would be best placed to make use of the violin but I found it virtually unplayable, doubtless due to its eventful life.

Depending on the person who wrote the note (and who is anonymous), that could mean anything from "*scritch scritch scritch* this violin can barely make a note" to "ugh, the tone is too tinny for my tastes".

I'd still really like to hear what it sounds like.
posted by LN at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2013


Found any deck chairs yet?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


What was the last song played on the Titanic?
posted by Mchelly at 11:40 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fascinating. I love stories about authenticating things like this. Such intense, quiet mysteries.
posted by xingcat at 11:41 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Amazing story, especially to have the full chain of ownership documented. If, say, it had turned up in a pawn shop, there would forever be disputes about authenticity.
posted by beagle at 12:05 PM on March 14, 2013


Let me call up a buddy of mine who's an expert in Titanic memorabilia.
/Rick
posted by dhens at 12:07 PM on March 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


I swear I wrote my comment before I saw beagle's.
posted by dhens at 12:07 PM on March 14, 2013


The historic violin, said to be worth a six figure sum, will go on public display at the Belfast City Hall, where Titanic was built, at the end of this month.

I used to think I knew a lot about Titanic; for instance, I always thought the ship had been built at Harland and Wolff shipyards.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:26 PM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


James Horner's arrangement of "Nearer My God To Thee" is very effective, if you'd like a taste of the song.
posted by swift at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Found any deck chairs yet?

Amusingly enough, there are also a few of those kicking around. Presumably being rearranged so much allowed some of them to survive.
posted by Copronymus at 12:58 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like to know someone with one of these "attics." All anyone would find in my parents' attic is computer boxes from the late 90s. In mine, too little insulation.
posted by stltony at 1:05 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]



virtually unplayable, doubtless due to its eventful life.
    I'd still really like to hear what it sounds like.


Well. . . a rosewood soundboard with a longitudinal crack, and then a second crack across the back? It's not going to sound like much.

Still, it's a good thing that he wasn't a tubist.
What, too soon?

Sez here that he "introduced tritone substitution into ballroom music". Before 1912. Now I'm imagining this cat jamming with Bird a few decades later. Maybe if he'd survived, emigrated ahead of WWII, worked with American bands into the 1930s and '40s . . .

But then maybe not. It also says:
[I]n 1909, he joined the Cunard Line as a musician, serving on . . .RMS Lusitania [and others].
So if he had dodged this bullet in 1912, there was maybe another with his name on it, three years later.
 
posted by Herodios at 1:57 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not something you'd think would survive the sinking. I think six figures might be lowballing it's value - I could easily see it going over the million mark. I just hope Clive Palmer doesn't buy it to display on Titanic II
posted by shimmerbug at 2:41 PM on March 14, 2013


Ian Jack wrote a fine article about Wallace Hartley, the town where he grew up, and 'one of the most vexing questions in the historiography of the Titanic': whether he really did play 'Nearer, My God, To Thee' as the ship went down.
posted by verstegan at 3:34 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wallace Hartley played violin? Wasn't he the conductor?
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 2:47 PM on March 15, 2013


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