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Visuals of Chanties at Work

Gibb Sahib 31 Mar 11 - 02:24 AM
Mr Red 31 Mar 11 - 01:49 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Aug 11 - 08:22 PM
Charley Noble 19 Aug 11 - 10:32 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 11 - 02:21 AM
Gibb Sahib 20 Jun 12 - 05:45 PM
Dead Horse 20 Jun 12 - 08:02 PM
Dead Horse 20 Jun 12 - 08:06 PM
Dead Horse 20 Jun 12 - 08:17 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Jun 12 - 09:12 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Jun 12 - 09:27 PM
Charley Noble 20 Jun 12 - 10:39 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Aug 14 - 04:02 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Aug 14 - 09:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Aug 14 - 10:02 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 Aug 14 - 10:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 07 Aug 14 - 09:51 PM
Bill Brown 07 Aug 14 - 11:17 PM
Gibb Sahib 10 Aug 14 - 03:08 AM
Lighter 10 Aug 14 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Derrick 10 Aug 14 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Derrick 10 Aug 14 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Derrick 10 Aug 14 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Derrick 10 Aug 14 - 11:49 AM
Mr Red 10 Aug 14 - 01:21 PM
Charley Noble 10 Aug 14 - 02:03 PM
Gibb Sahib 10 Aug 14 - 04:34 PM
Gibb Sahib 10 Aug 14 - 09:25 PM
Mysha 11 Aug 14 - 04:00 AM
Mr Red 11 Aug 14 - 04:43 AM
Ian 11 Aug 14 - 04:44 AM
Mysha 11 Aug 14 - 05:31 AM
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Subject: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 31 Mar 11 - 02:24 AM

This after thinking about a conversation on another thread--

Anybody have links to videos of chanties being used in real or quasi-real work applications. Besides a few of my own (from Mystic Seaport) that I've posted, I haven't come across any. Would love to see more examples that people may have captured.

There is undoubtedly much in people's private collections that have not reached the Net.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Mr Red
Date: 31 Mar 11 - 01:49 PM

I have seen Stan Hugill singing Ranzo while pulling on a rope. It ain't wot you would call Folk Club fare - it is men working.

Available commercially.

PM me I may have so things from TV

or go to cresby.com & webmails me.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 08:22 PM

Bump


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 10:32 PM

One would think that Alan Villiers would have gotten some but, as I now recall, he lost his film man while they were rounding Cape Horn in a storm.

Wonder if they have any shanty film (other than Pop-Eye) out at the National Maritime Museum in San Francisco?

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 11 - 02:21 AM

Well, in any case, here are the videos I have made public.

Joseph Conrad - capstan - 2008

Joseph Conrad - capstan - 2009

Joseph Conrad - capstan - 2010

Similar videos harvested on YouTube:
Joseph Conrad - capstan - 2008
Joseph Conrad - capstan - 2011

More of mine:
LA Dunton - brake windlass - 2010

Joseph Conrad - halyards - 2010
Joseph Conrad - halyards - 2010

Joseph Conrad - bunting - 2007


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 05:45 PM

From Youtube,
LA Dunton - windlass - 2012


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Dead Horse
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 08:02 PM

Most disappointing GS.
With the exception of the last one, they were all totally ignoring the beat and doing the very light work (which could be done by one man without a chantey) with no resistance.
The last one was at least in time - but again with no sense of effort.
The majority of those chanties were innapropriate for the work anyway.
One man could have done those jobs without strain in a quarter of the time. It makes a mockery of the whole thing imho.
When you consider the effort required to pull an entire ship up towards its own anchor, against the flow of wind and tide, before the lighter job of merely hauling the anchor up from the bottom, then you will get where I am coming from. Those folks at Mystic were just 'playing' with a kids toy by comparison.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Dead Horse
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 08:06 PM

Bunt tossing was OK of course, but could not hear the call or response unfortunately. But why was Maui being played to stills of yard working?


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Dead Horse
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 08:17 PM

It had all the authenticity of using a huge monkey wrench to undo an 8BA nut.
Chanties were used to lighten hard work, not to add drama to a simple task that could be done quicker without the fuss.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 09:12 PM

Dead Horse,

Use a little common sense and you'll figure it all out.

I asked for "videos of chanties being used in real or quasi-real work applications." That's because I know enough that truly real practice will be even harder to find video of. "Something is better than nothing." If you have footage, common sense would dictate that you would share it rather than expressing disappointment. The thread is still open for those truly perfect video examples you might have. However, I doubt there will be many to add, because even when we have people under sail in real conditions, rarely do we have people in those situations who know the authentic/realistic chanty-singing, either. The Tall Ships races would seem to have occasion for simulations, and I'd love to see any footage from those, but I suspect one might cringe at some of the "folk revival" ways of singing they use.

It's acknowledged that these videos (the ones posted so far) are artificial demos. Though I do think you insult the very knowledgeable staff of Mystic Seaport, and miss the very obvious fact that most of the participants are public visitors that may never have done the activity before. They are impromptu -- for good reason -- and the context is one of offering experience and education. Believe it or not, these people are "real" sailors, who have no need to prove themselves through acts of machismo and "straining." They are not going to sail out to sea and drop anchor only to heave it up over the course of hours, just to show people!

I think you grossly misunderstand the issue of timing work to song that happens in real life, or at minimum you don't factor in how variable conditions necessitate the adjustment.

None of these tasks absolutely needs a chanty. But your claim (unless you're being sarcastic?) that "One man could have done those jobs without strain" the real mockery. The jobs are acknowledged as lighter (and VERY short), but they are all real jobs requiring effort of several crew. I suspect you have never done them, since your critique just does not make sense.

If you have *specific* critiques of events that happened, let me know and I will try to explain what all of what you're seeing was necessary (i.e. due to circumstances of limitation), customary (i.e. based in how chanty singing has developed in our era), or errant (i.e. due to misunderstanding or lack of knowledge). The last, to my mind, is the only dimension open to criticism, and I do have my criticisms as well -- many, nitpicking comments, to be sure! But I contain these criticisms, as I hope you would, within the wider frame of overall aim, and with knowledge that few people can have the skills and knowledge of *all* aspects.

So, where all else have you seen these actions performed with chanties? I ask sincerely because next time I am in England I would like to go see it.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 09:27 PM

So let's see more video examples, everyone. Links please!

There are aspects of chanty singing that do not told in "the books", and require seeing the work to envision.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 10:39 PM

I bet the Polish ships have some great videos of shanty work. You might contact Tom Lewis and see who he might suggest as a Polish contact.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 04:02 PM

Updating this thread. Here is the first of several new examples.

Hoisting the main (upper) topsail yard, on the Charles W. Morgan, sailing from Vineyard Haven to New Bedford. Geoff Kaufmann leads "John Cherokee" and "Boney." Filmed from camera mounted on head of hauler, Prof. Revell Carr.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mot3MzhPpE


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 09:55 PM

Here is the last example, shot from another angle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COBCt4e3Gb0


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 10:02 PM

…and from yet another angle:

http://instagram.com/p/prL03Nnvjz/?modal=true


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 10:27 PM

Similar setting to the last, Kaufman leading "Round the Corner, Sally" at the main topsail halyard.

http://instagram.com/p/qeNpudnvgs/?modal=true


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 07 Aug 14 - 09:51 PM

Here's Walter Runciman (1847-1937) leading some old chaps in a bit of reminiscing simulation, 1933.

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/captains-as-deck-hands/query/shanty


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Bill Brown
Date: 07 Aug 14 - 11:17 PM

Cool stuff!

I note how in the modern videos the verses seem rushed. In a similar situation in the old film the singer takes his time. Is that to give the sailors a break, do you suppose? Or maybe the filmmakers set the scene up and told them to sing the wrong song for the job?


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 03:08 AM

The last few modern ones I posted, on the _Charles W. Morgan_, were the only ones where sailing was actually happening. So, they provide evidence of the speed at which one *could* work to chanties.

The caveats are that the _Morgan_ is a rather small vessel. On the other hand, there were not many people on the line. On balance, the scenario still remains pretty "real." The only argument I could imagine someone could make against it is to suggest that in this scenario (i.e. with such a small vessel), chanties were not needed, and then to argue that, therefore, one would not be sung under these conditions.

Perhaps more revealing is this: - The capstan of the vessel was skeptical, so I'm told by various sources, of the singing of chanties at work. The modern crews generally prefer to work without chanties…which also means they work in a different style. Their (the modern sailors') argument seems to be is that the job can be done faster without a chanty. This may be the case, but even if so, it misses the point of chanties. And it doesn't explain, either, why the job must be done so fast. (That is, what would the consequence be if one took an extra 30-45 seconds?)

Anyway: Because the captain had created a feeling that the yards must be set very quickly, the crew that is working probably felt a need to work as quickly as they could.

The speed of singing in the 1930s clip is consistent with how other older sailors sang in recordings (albeit non-working) at that time:
http://www.loc.gov/item/afccc.a4229b1

These men would have sailed in really HUGE vessels. Paradoxically, those vessels were often so big that their halyards were fitted with winches or the hoisting was done by capstan.

There remains some skepticism that the speed of singing halyard chanties, by the older men who sang in the 1930s-40s, reflects reality. In my opinion, the reasons to doubt it are not very convincing.

I think most would say that the variation in speed is all to do, as one might guess, with the difficulty of the job (weight) versus the number of hands. If this is the only factor, then it would be disingenuous for the younger, stronger crew on the sampler ships to sing/work more slowly.

However, I think there is more to all this than the issue of how hard the work is at a given time. I think in historical chanty-singing there was perhaps an element of *cultural custom*, rather independent of necessity, that affected speed. That is, people might just sing more slowly because that's how it was done.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 09:25 AM

Very interesting clips, Gibb.

A barely relevant sidelight: a well-educated friend (born in the 1950s) once expressed actual disbelief (not just surprise) that sailors *ever* sang at work.

She thought it was a silly Hollywood thing invented for "Moby Dick" or something.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 11:16 AM

Gibb Sahib,Look up The folktrax.org website.
They have a cd and a dvd with archive recordings and film of the Quarrymen of Portland,Dorset,England using songs in their quarry work.
The recordings were made by Peter Kennedy.
The


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 11:23 AM

Not sure what happened to the end of my post.Here it is again
The songs include Roll the old chariot.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 11:43 AM


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 11:49 AM

There is also recording of the work songs in the British library World & traditional song section.
It is in the Peter Kennedy Collection.
The title is Portland Quarries 1953


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 01:21 PM

I have saved video clips of various videos involving Sailing Ships. Most are archive and don't have audio because home cine cameras didn't have sound. But do have what would be shanties working the capstan and bunt line.
eg from programmes like "Copper Mariners" & "Thames Shipwrecks" (talking about the square rigger 'the Dovenby'"
a third has Gareth Malone looking into shanties on a square rigger and trying to work to a shanty, they have several goes at it and do a passable demonstration. And certainly demonstrate the rough and ready singing and difficulty involved. Bout 11 minutes into the video.

If anyone wants a DVD I can burn one, but it might cost you the composition of an original tune inspired by canal (not song nor river).
PM me.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 02:03 PM

Gibb-

It's certainly nice to have fresh video of sailors using shanties to help with the work aboard the Charles W. Morgan.

Cheerily,
Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 04:34 PM

Slightly off topic, but:

One of the things that I have been mulling over this summer, which during which the "big event" has been the relaunch of the _Morgan_, has been the issue of necessity in relation to chanties.

The reasons why the _Morgan_ inspired these thoughts are:

1) Built in 1841, she was constructed just around when the chanty genre that we know was in the early stages of life - and she is one of just two vessels that are extant that were sailed during the classical heyday of chanties. Having never been sailed by anyone alive today, her relaunch offered the opportunity to learn something about chanties in action.

2) Once the Morgan was launched, it became evident that the modern professional sailors were generally not interested in using chanties. Indeed, whereas the chanty genre "died out" on sailing vessels 100 years ago, people have continued to sail so-called "tall ships" and in most cases they have done so without using chanties. In most cases the ships are over-manned, so there is that removal of "need" for chanties. Yet the recent sailing of the Morgan wasn't grossly overmanned. The crew needed to coordinate and focus their work, but they did it without chanties, according to modern custom of grunting things like "heave, heave!"


If something is not universal, it has a history - it has a beginning and an end. The chanty genre is not universal. Even work-singing is not universal. Despite idle speculation to the contrary, human everywhere have not adopted the practice of singing with work, much less in any comprehensive way. Rather, particular cultural groups or communities, at particular times, have tended to do this.

Prior to the 19th century, the English and Anglo-Americans evidently did not have a comprehensive practice of using song to coordinate shipboard work. A popular way of explaining the advent of the chanty genre to ships in the 19th century has been to say that before that there was no *need* for it. The ships were overmanned and so forth. Then the decline of the genre is explained by "no need" again: steam power and so forth. But there has been a lot of sailing done since the "decline" and there was much done before the "advent" that, one imagines, did have the "need".

I conclude that custom and cultural influence are just as if not more responsible for why chanties were sung aboard ship. Before a certain point, it was not the custom - it was not in their culture - for the English to sing well-developed songs with shipboard labor. And nowadays, the modern professional sailors - among whom, perhaps incidentally, one rarely finds a person of color - do not sing chanties because it is really just not their cultural inclination to do so.

This is not to say that "need" is not a factor in the history of shipboard chanties. I think that most certainly it was (just not the only or the dominant factor necessarily). So, understanding how the factor of need may or may operate is important - hence the desire to see and do as many demos as possible.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Aug 14 - 09:25 PM

Here's a new video I made of "Reuben Ranzo" at the main topsail halyard on the Joseph Conrad. It's all experienced folk this time (no public guests).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB0RhJaRnEk


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Mysha
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:00 AM

Hi,

Well, it would seem there were seaman work songs before the shanties. (If you're looking for historical factors: Why are they called "chanties"?) They must have served to relieve the boredom; work songs usually seem to do so. Then somewhere and -when in the 19th century, apparently, the chanty was invented, which added work timing to the work songs. I couldn't say whether the distribution was limited culturally or merely by the speed at which seamen, and especially shantymen, moved from ship to ship.

Obviously, as shanties are tied to specific types of work, the disappearance of such a type of work would exclude the linked type of shanty. Whether steamers had other types of work that were boring and needed timing, I don't know. And would machine power not be to loud to allow using shanties near them?

Coming to these modern professional sailors: I expect they'll find that timing makes the work easier, but of course "heave . . . heave . . . heave" or "one heave one heave" would suffice. Whether they would use work songs at all would probably depend again on whether their work is boring. And whether they used shanties might depend on whether they had a shantyman: Someone who knew shanties for each type of work and was able to use them to make the work easier.

So, while I agree that it may be a cultural thing, it need not be of the "We don't sing" type, but may just be because of the difference between the culture of the clipper sailors then and the yacht sailors now. That both are professionals may not be enough of a similarity to make them behave the same.

Bye
                                                               Mysha


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:43 AM

Chanties comes from chant online dictionary and presumably has its roots in Latin and Romance languages. Shanty is just a corruption and slightly easier to say IMHO.

There are pit shanties for synchronicity, and plenty of slave work songs that would relieve the boredom. And not forgetting the buttermaking songs that time the process, much akin to the poems that Japanese swordmakers used to time the tempering of Samurai swords precisely.

I once heard a chanting in Hongkong and rushing to the sound & found a load of workmen moving a heavy cabinet down narrow steps. Timing, but not tuneful.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Ian
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:44 AM

Using shanties to work co-ordinate can be seen in written records,ie 1066 Norman attack on England. Duke William had a scribe make a realtime written record of his venture, The scribe noted that as the ships set sail from Normandy the sailors sang as they hoisted the sails. Then Will Shakespear The Tempest, act 1 page 1 The sailors sing Haul on the bowline. Both a little before the 1850s.
In my opinion the shanty earned its keep in the 18th 19th century when the british navy aquired sailors from many nations vessels and needed to both learn the language and co-ordinate effort. In some cases shanties were used for the crew to express their feelings to their treatment by the management. Songs like the blackball line was possibly written as early advertisment for the company.


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Subject: RE: Visuals of Chanties at Work
From: Mysha
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 05:31 AM

Hi

Mr. Red, I know the derivation; the "why" was meant to refer to how the name came into existence. The Romance root of the name could be tied to the region where the shanty, as a work song combined with timing, developed.

Ian, can you point me to sources for William's records and the singing in The Tempest, as I'd learn about them. Thanks. I've been told that the British Navy, in fact, did not allow singing during most tasks. I could imagine that the navy men were supposed to be well-trained enough to work in unison anyway (whether that expectation was correct or not).

Bye
                                                                Mysha


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