The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #145654   Message #3372839
Posted By: ChrisJBrady
06-Jul-12 - 11:31 AM
Thread Name: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
[i]Subject: RE: A.L.Lloyd & Sea Chanties
From: RTim - PM
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 10:28 AM

A question I have is about how the singing happened.

Did the Shantyman when on board working, sing both his line AND the response, or only his line?

Tim Radford
(Who has just recorded some shanties with a chorus)[i/]

The shantyman wouldn't have had a 'line' per se. The work was rhythmic and went across both the 'verses' and the 'choruses.' The actual words were immaterial except as distractions to the hard work at hand.

He was paid to get the most work out of the men for the job to be done in the quickest time possible. If he also sang the chorus to get that extra effort from the men that so be it.

But I guess it would depend upon the inclination of the shanty singer himself. And also of course the job to be done - there were different shanties with different rhythms for different jobs.

What I am sure about is that there were no idlers standing by to join in the chorus in harmony at appropriate moments!!

Incidentally when pulling ropes it is the rhythmic nature of that pulling that makes the work easier because everyone directs their effort into the work all at the same time. This would cut across the verses and choruses alike. If the words were bawdy and/or lent an air of humour into the work then all the better - this would have made the work seem easier. The men would have appreciated that.

As always I recommend that any shanty singer worth his/her salt books a passage on a real tall ship, even for a day sail, and sees what its all about. The rougher the sea the better.