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What is a Shanty

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Jeep man 08 Aug 01 - 03:05 PM
Mr Red 08 Aug 01 - 03:23 PM
Devilmaster 08 Aug 01 - 03:25 PM
Gareth 08 Aug 01 - 03:30 PM
Skipper Jack 08 Aug 01 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Nick 08 Aug 01 - 04:51 PM
Naemanson 08 Aug 01 - 05:05 PM
Jeep man 08 Aug 01 - 05:44 PM
Gareth 08 Aug 01 - 05:52 PM
Mr Red 08 Aug 01 - 05:53 PM
Wincing Devil 08 Aug 01 - 07:00 PM
Barry Finn 08 Aug 01 - 07:30 PM
Charley Noble 08 Aug 01 - 07:32 PM
CraigS 08 Aug 01 - 07:47 PM
Jeri 08 Aug 01 - 07:49 PM
MMario 08 Aug 01 - 07:55 PM
Charley Noble 08 Aug 01 - 07:58 PM
Nancy King 08 Aug 01 - 08:01 PM
Charley Noble 08 Aug 01 - 08:05 PM
Jeri 08 Aug 01 - 08:28 PM
Naemanson 08 Aug 01 - 08:32 PM
Charley Noble 08 Aug 01 - 08:36 PM
Celtic Soul 08 Aug 01 - 08:44 PM
masato sakurai 08 Aug 01 - 09:10 PM
ponytrax 08 Aug 01 - 09:58 PM
Naemanson 08 Aug 01 - 10:12 PM
Barry Finn 08 Aug 01 - 11:10 PM
Charley Noble 09 Aug 01 - 10:15 AM
Jeri 09 Aug 01 - 10:25 AM
Charley Noble 09 Aug 01 - 10:40 AM
MMario 09 Aug 01 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Nick 09 Aug 01 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Nick 09 Aug 01 - 01:56 PM
Naemanson 09 Aug 01 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Nick 09 Aug 01 - 02:54 PM
brid widder 09 Aug 01 - 03:10 PM
Devilmaster 09 Aug 01 - 03:27 PM
Margo 09 Aug 01 - 03:32 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Aug 01 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Nick 09 Aug 01 - 03:44 PM
MMario 09 Aug 01 - 03:56 PM
Mark Cohen 09 Aug 01 - 05:20 PM
Margo 09 Aug 01 - 05:46 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Aug 01 - 06:41 PM
radriano 09 Aug 01 - 07:53 PM
Charley Noble 09 Aug 01 - 08:02 PM
Mark Cohen 10 Aug 01 - 03:05 AM
Naemanson 10 Aug 01 - 06:11 AM
Charley Noble 10 Aug 01 - 11:10 AM
Naemanson 10 Aug 01 - 11:16 AM
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Subject: What is a Shanty
From: Jeep man
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 03:05 PM

In Folk Music terms, What is a Shanty? Jeep


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 03:23 PM

Shanty is,...... let me see how many answers do you want?
It's a work song
from the word base chant (cf French chanter chanson etc)
it is a well known aerobics phenomenom that excercise to music allows 15% more energy to be expended. Because of anticipation and enjoyment. With shanties the act of people all pulling together at the same time (as per shanty rhytm) made the work more efficient as well.
thats a short answer - there are much longer ones!!!!!


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Devilmaster
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 03:25 PM

Well, I figure if I start out, someone will correct.

Very simply, shantys were work songs. Now more complicated......

In the days of sail, sailors doing a long, or heavy job, would sing to keep the pace of the job going properly, and basically pass the time. The song would be led by a shantyman, which was usually an actual position on the boat.
And it would be his job to lead the boys in work and song. Alot of songs used for the task at hand, would be where the shantyman sings a line, and the rest of the sailors would refrain a line back. (musicians help with the termin. please)

for example I use Tom Lewis' 'Port in a Storm'
shantyman: All Hands to the pumps
sailors: well then tell us a story
shantyman: All hands to the pumps
sailors: well then sing us a song
shantyman: All hands to the pumps and I'll sing of the girls
All: Their a sailorman's port in a storm.


Hope that helps a bit.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Gareth
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 03:30 PM

I always understood, 3 major threads of Chanties,

1 Work songs to coordinate a crews efforts. Example "Haul away Joe"

2 Forebitters or entertainment songs. Example "Flash Packt"

3 Seamen or Pilots Memonics Example "Spanish Ladies"

Though I have no doubt that some more knowledgable Catter will have a more precise and explanatory explanation.

In the meantine try CLICK HERE

I hope this works !!

Gareth


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 03:40 PM

Dear Jeep Man

Get hold of Stan Hugill's "Shanties Of The Seven Seas" if you can. That will more than answer your question.

Incidentally, as well as co-ordinating the crew into pulling together, the shanty also provided them with a bit of much needed light relief. The shantyman would make up verses which among other things would take the p**s out of the "afterguard" (The skipper and officers)


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 04:51 PM

Shantys or Chantys are most often thought of as being sung by sailors but were also know to be sung by lumber jacks, Railroad track layers, slave laborers, and by the crews of fast food restaurants (kiding on the last one!) Though not usually included in the list I feel that marching songs are a form of shantying. IMO


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Naemanson
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:05 PM

Well, as the farmer said, deep subject! The original chanties were work songs to coordinate the efforts of a working party. Chanties where used at the halyards, capstan, and pumps. There were stamp and go chanties for long light lifts and short haul chanties for short heavy lifts.

Forebitters were songs used for entertainment among the sailors.

I too have heard people say that the position of chantey man was a special position on board ship but I doubt it. I believe it was just one of the experienced men who knew the songs and could lead the work. He may have been given some form of bonus on some ships but I don't think that was a hard and fast rule. The ship's lists have seen have never included that position.

Recently chantey sings have been organized to include all forms of sea music, traditional and modern, work songs and ballads. A chantey sing is one of the best forms of entertainment there is.

Give it some time and there will be lenty more people adding their voices to this thread.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Jeep man
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:44 PM

I never cease to be impressed by 'catters. You all are really good. You have made Jeep happy. Thanks


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Gareth
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:52 PM

Shantis for Fast Food Workers - now theres a subject for a Song Competition !!

Ah yes "old MacDonald had a .......!"

or for Kairdiff " St Mary's Street blues !"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:53 PM

What about Pit Shanties? (that's easy for me to say ---- sober)
I once heard a chant in Hong Kong and rushed round the corner to "collect" a song. Only to find a load of strongarms humping a huge electrical cabinet down a flight of stairs. They were shouting in unison as they heaved down each step. Definitely a chanty. But not a song.
What about the waulking songs of the Hebridees? work songs and chants.
The Spinning Wheel? Butter making songs to time the churning? If they are rhytmical they are shanties,
Sea shanties are just a subset and often "river songs" and stevedore songs are mistakenly called "sea" shanties like "Esokebo River" ---- these are murky waters indeed
And I bet you will find grape treading songs of the vintners of the Dordoinge or Corbiers or Burgundy or......
cheers


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:00 PM

At the Sea Shanty Sing last night at the Royal Mile Pub in lovely Wheaton, MD, I heard two songs that I'd heard before before, but never at a shanty sing:

Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat (Yes, from Guys and Dolls!) &
Theme from Gilligan's Island

Granted, they're both about boats and water (the G.I. theme even mimics the sound of a shanty), but this was s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g it!

A good time was had by all anyway!

Wincing Devil   >;-(
"The cat was created when the lion sneezed." - Arab myth


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:30 PM

True sea shanties would never be heard onshore or on the off time. They are the work songs of the sailing ship, waulking songs are work songs as is prison work songs, railroad songs & cowboy songs but they're not shanties. The only places I've heard (so this is IMHO) of shanties outside of this realm would be in the Georgia Sea Islands where songs for rowing & cargo loading were included in this & in the West Indies & neighoring islands where they included again rowing songs as well as house moving songs. Sea songs sung for the sailors enjoyment & not used for work were called forebitters (of course many shanties could be adapted to fit many work situations). A shantyman was said to be as good as 10 men on a line & though he may not have been paid outright his position would be a position of far better than most any other member of the crew.
Barry


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:32 PM

Well, I think we should tighten up what's supposed to be a shanty or chantey from what we all sometimes refer to as shanties or chanteys. Number one, they should be work chants or songs that have to to with ships: working the sails, pumping out water, hoisting the anchor, loading and unloading. Similiar work songs ashore used for building rail lines, working in the lumber camps, framing barns and homes, transplanting banana trees, sharpening pencils, and data entry should not be called shanties or chanteys unless one is making a parody of the whole thing.

The sea ballads or other songs that sailors traditionally sang for their entertainment should not be called shanties or chanteys; they're generally known as forebitters or fo'c'sle songs. The terms themselves apparently cannot be traced back before the 1850's although there is clear evidence that the songs went back long before that; the songs just weren't called shanties or chanteys.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: CraigS
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:47 PM

Look, let's be clear about this. Shanties were work songs sung by sailors, ie. to make the work easier. While a shantyman was not specified as a particular crew position, the shantyman was allowed to stand aside and chant the song while others did the hard work. Such songs are akin to other work songs, such as field hollers,troop chants or chain gang songs. Forebitters were songs sung on board ships which were not an aid to working. Shanties fall into simple categories, such as capstan shanties or halyard (stamp-and-go) shanties, according to the work they were used for. Some Shanties could be used for more than one purpose, so the tempo determined the purpose for which they were used. The way that people sing most of the shanties sung today is insufficiently contiguous for work purposes, where the workers sing when they are not putting effort into work. Me, I knew Stan Hugill, and I like to sing Lining Track when someone wants a work song.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:49 PM

As Dick Greenhaus once pointed out to me, speed this up a wee bit and tell me it doesn't sound like the Gilligan's Island theme!

Great stuff, guys.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: MMario
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:55 PM

I've always been told there is a clear division between shanties and other work songs. One class not mentioned is the Roustabout song - used by the circus workers while raising the tents.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:58 PM

Jeri, that tune sounds like "The Days of '49" to me. Does it sound like a sea shanty to you, and if so, I'm curious which one?


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Nancy King
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:01 PM

The Boarding Party guys often said the shantyman was paid half by management (to encourage a faster pace) and half by the crew (to keep the pace reasonable). Don't know where they got that factoid. Maybe from the late Eric Ilott. I expect the arrangements varied from ship to ship.

"If they are rhythmical, they are shanties..." No. "Sea shanties are just a subset..." Yes (though I'd omit the word "just"). The broader term is work song, and sailors' work songs are called shanties.

I do consider a lot of stevedoring songs as shanties, because they did involve ships and sometimes were sung by the same crews as the deepwater shanties, and they were used to pace work. But most of these were used only for cargo loading/unloading and were not sung aboard ships. Interesting.

Good thread!

Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:05 PM

Roustabout songs might be very similar to shanties in form and function. I still would not call them shanties. Certainly, what my neighbors in Ethiopia were singing when they were transplanting large banana trees would have filled Stan Hugil's heart with joy, along with a horn glass of mead, but should also not have been called shanties.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:28 PM

Charley, it was just a bit of sideways thread creep, but it was a challenge. This one has notes that are either the same or in harmony with the first two lines of Days of 49.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Naemanson
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:32 PM

Charley, I think Jeri is pointing out a possible connection between the Days Of 49 and Gilligan's Island. This is similar to the source of the song the Everly Brothers made so popular (Wake Up Little Suzy) that they stole from that great old sea chantey Suzianna.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:36 PM

Another qualification. The work songs also show clear evidence of being adapted from one work situation to another. A song like "Old Moke" in terms of chorus and verse is neatly devided between shipboard and railroading. And I'm sure some sailors moved ashore and lumbered and sang some their own songs in the work camps for entertainment, maybe even a shanty or two. So I put this to you, Barry, if a sailor sings a "shanty" in the forest is the song still a "shanty"?


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:44 PM

'Cept focsle shanties. They're not work songs.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: masato sakurai
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 09:10 PM

Accordingt to a folksong authority, it is "A work song of sailors in which a leader (shantyman) usually sings a solo part and is answered by the men in a chorus, on the strong accents of which rhythmic labor is performed" (D.K. Wilgus, Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship since 1898, Rutgers UP, 1959, p. 436)


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: ponytrax
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 09:58 PM

fast-food chantys or shantys--today I was at an open-kitchen restaurant & all the line cooks were singing "sittin on the dock of the bay". Go figure.

now by some measures, cowboy lullabies, the songs you sing in the dark as you ride round the herd of cattle settled for the night, could be considered shanties.

Maybe the term shanty should be serseved for those musical events that measure and time work.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Naemanson
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 10:12 PM

Please read Barry's definition above. There are many kinds of work songs and shanties are a subset of that genre.

Shanties did come ashore and shore bound work songs went to sea. There was a lot of overlap. Yet the real shanty is as Barry defined it. No more, no less.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 11:10 PM

Hi Charlie, if a man is alone in a forest with no women around & decides to make a choice is he wrong? Barry


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 10:15 AM

Barry, well, no, but if that man's a sailor can you still grow shells on his back?


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 10:25 AM

...and why is a duck?


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 10:40 AM

You can lead a duck to water but you can't grow moss on its back?;-)


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: MMario
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 10:48 AM

whoops! sorry - I wasn't clear above - I meant that Roustabout songs were a class of work song - not a sub-class of shanties!


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 01:21 PM

If I sing The Plains of Mexico and I am not on a boat, and not working then by definition it is not a shanty!?

Folk music is not something you can just put in a nice little box. Well I guess you can but that really sucks the fun right out of it.

So The Last Shanty is not one because by the time it was written nobody on a ship sang as they worked?

Hand me another box please!


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 01:56 PM

Warning This is not a shanty....

I'm working now at Mickey D's Oh yes Oh.... Slapping on a piece of cheese Oh yes Oh.... I get to wear a real neat hat Oh yes Oh.... Would You like some fries with that? Oh yes Oh.... I slather on the special sauce Oh yes Oh.... I speak in spanish just like me boss Oh yes Oh.... And when you order from me your fries Oh yes Oh.... I ask would you like em super sized? Oh yes Oh.... Two all beef patties and a sesame bun Oh yes Oh.... Life at McDonald's is so much fun Oh yes Oh.... if from my job the boss me does spring Oh yes Oh.... I can go to work at Burger King

Remember this is not a shanty Unless sung at one of the seagoing fast food outlets. Nick


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Naemanson
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 02:47 PM

The last shanty is not a shanty because its rhythm structure would make it very hard to sing slowly enough to work to it, or vice versa, it would be very difficult to work with it guiding the the movements of the crew.

I don't strictly hold to location on the singing of shanties. After all a song doesn't change with location. Perhaps a better definition would be that the song CAN be used for working at sea.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 02:54 PM

I was just thinking... In Stan Hugil's book he talks about quarry men who sing shanties to this day. If Stan says says you can sing a shanty on dry land it is good enough for me.

A side note: I just got a copy of Stan Hugill live at the Mystic Seaport. Not for the faint of heart, one of the least musical CD I have ever heard! Interesting yes, musical ? just barely!


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: brid widder
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:10 PM

have you heard Sid Kipper's 'corset lacing shanty...'cross the wide Miss Audrey'


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Devilmaster
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:27 PM

Nick, As I'm sure you well know, Tom Lewis, former RN submariner, wrote the last shanty. I would consider it a shanty.

But what the point everyone is trying to make is that the traditional meaning for a shanty is a work song used to keep the pace of a job on ship.

But as times change, so do definitons. Nowadays, I believe for the average person, shantys basically are any song in a folk style dealing with the sea.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Margo
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:32 PM

Actually the origin of the word shantey is not really know. It is not necessarily from the french Chantez. It is also thought that the word may have come from the fact that the shanteyman was often a black man who lived in a shantey ashore, hence the shantey man term. I'd be more inclined to go with the latter explanation. Why would a french word coin the term? Also in another thread (sorry I have no link) it was mentioned that the call and response type song started in Africa.... Margo


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:38 PM

Go back to the old thread "Sea shanties." Many good comments, including those by Barry Finn on the contribution from African work songs and shanties, etc. The African contribution has long been recognized by students of the subject; black sailors were frequently employed on the ships in the early days. Anyone have any Lascar shanties? Shanty is defined as applying to sea work songs, but the songs were also used on the Great Lakes boats.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:44 PM

I agree that a ship board work song is the best general definiton, and the vast majority of this kind of singing is associated with maritime pursuits but the fact remains that shanties were and still are sung in places other than a ship and are still Shanties. Once again I will point out this is something confirmed by Stan Hugill, a more athoritative source can not be found on the subject.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: MMario
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:56 PM

Why would a french word be the origin? (some time check out the sheer number of english words with french derivations)

The english word CHANT is derived from the french - it has been used in th past to refer to sailor songs - one definition is : To sing or recite after the manner of a chant, or to a tune called a chant.

another definition of chant is: a repetitive song in which as many syllables as necessary are assigned to a single tone --- something I have seen happen in a lot of chanteys!


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:20 PM

The world is divided into two groups of people: those who divide the world into two groups of people and those who don't. As far as I'm concerned, I don't need someone to give me permission to sing a song in a certain place at a certain time, or to tell me what I can call it when I do. Though I know such distinctions are important for some people. But what do I know? After all, I wrote a bowling shanty!

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Margo
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:46 PM

But MMario, I understand about the word chantez sounding like the word shantey, but I just don't see why a French word would have gained predominance.... I mean it's not like the French were a dominating naval presence...that's all. I found the other thread here so you all can see what else was said about the subject. Margo


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 06:41 PM

Don't know what the argument is about the derivation of the word shanty (preferred in OED; chantey or chanty in the American Merriam Webster dictionary). In the OED it is "said" to come from Fr. chantez but that is an opinion. Our word chant came from Middle English chaunten which came from Middle French chanter which came from Latin cantare. Shanty-chantey obviously fits somewhere in here. The first printed use of chantey-shanty is mid-19th Century but the word could be much older; chant goes back to the 1300's or so. What is the point here? A shanty-chantey is defined as a "sailors song, esp.one sung during heavy work." Word definitions are shifting all the time; you may try to fix them in stone but sooner or later the stone will erode. Obviously some of us would extend the meaning, and in time could become the majority. In an earlier thread someone made the point that work songs of this type were older than the stated first use of the word, regardless of what they were called.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: radriano
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 07:53 PM

I prefer using the word shanty myself. I took a choral class once at a City College and the teacher refered to shanties at one point and pronounced it "chanteeze" which I found sounded silly to my ear. I had always thought that shanty and chantey were pronounced the same.

I define shanty as a nautical work song. Forebitters or focsle (sp?) songs were sung for entertainment when off duty. Forebitters were just about any song. Some were sea related or just commonly sung ballads of the time while some were shore songs brought to sea. Shanties themselves were only sung aboard ships because it was considered bad luck to sing them ashore.

It is true that, to many people, the word shanty means any sea song.

Richard


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 08:02 PM

Not to worry. I don't think any of us are going to blow anyone away about singing traditional shanties ashore in all sorts of bizare situations, and singing Mark's splendid Bowling Shanty (see DT) and several other outrageous parodies. BUT we should know what we're doing historically, and functionally (if there is such a word). I always enjoy singing Steve Goodman's "Parking Lot Pirates" as the ultimate urban haul-a-way song. And I'm sure Stan is still singing something outrageous somewhere.

Try not to call other nautical songs shanties or chanteys if they were not historically (could be yesterday) used for helping pace the work aboard ship, even if that ship is located in a pond in Disneyworld.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 03:05 AM

Uh, Charley, as long as we're all quibbling here....it's "Lincoln Park Pirates"! And thanks for the compliment.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 06:11 AM

Actually, Mark, after Charley got done with it "Parking Lot Pirates" is correct. Charley rewrote the locations in the song to fit it into Portland, Maine. Charley is the ultimate folk singer. He is quite a songwriter and tinkerer. He can't leave any song alone.


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 11:10 AM

Thanks, Brett, for the compliment...I think...


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Subject: RE: What is a Shanty
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 11:16 AM

"...I steal from everyone..." - W. Guthrie


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