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What exactly is a sea shanty?

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GUEST,T-tone 05 Mar 03 - 09:47 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 05 Mar 03 - 10:31 PM
michaelr 05 Mar 03 - 10:45 PM
GUEST 05 Mar 03 - 11:13 PM
GUEST 05 Mar 03 - 11:47 PM
EBarnacle1 06 Mar 03 - 01:02 PM
MMario 06 Mar 03 - 01:05 PM
Crane Driver 06 Mar 03 - 03:43 PM
Skipper Jack 06 Mar 03 - 04:04 PM
Folkiedave 07 Mar 03 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,JohnB 07 Mar 03 - 12:31 PM
GUEST 07 Mar 03 - 05:13 PM
Simbo 07 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM
open mike 07 Mar 03 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,Q 09 Mar 03 - 10:34 PM
Ian 11 Mar 03 - 03:53 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Apr 12 - 02:11 AM
Vic Smith 04 Apr 12 - 04:58 AM
John Minear 04 Apr 12 - 06:52 AM
The Sandman 04 Apr 12 - 07:36 AM
johncharles 04 Apr 12 - 07:51 AM
Charley Noble 04 Apr 12 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,LIghter 04 Apr 12 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 04 Apr 12 - 11:52 AM
radriano 04 Apr 12 - 12:02 PM
Charley Noble 04 Apr 12 - 10:46 PM
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Subject: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST,T-tone
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 09:47 PM

Well folks, I am a long time Mudcat reader/user, but it just occurred to me that I do not know the specific meaning of this song-type. Can the good people please respond. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 10:31 PM

Hi, if you check up above, in the Lyric and Knowledge Search link up above, and enter Shanty for a search on the Forum, you get a lot of hits.

Here are a few of those links

Origins of Sea Shanty
What is a Sea Shanty
Sea Shanties
Sea Shanties - Timing & Tempo


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: michaelr
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 10:45 PM

Shanties, in general, are work songs. (There are numerous Canadian lumberjack shanties, for example... not written by Monty Python.) Sea shanties are songs about the work of sailors.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 11:13 PM

It's only a shanty in old Shantytown. NOT in the DT! Even if we don't like water, us bums want a little respect. (Genie posted it in thread 572).


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 11:47 PM

Something ye fecking landlubbers and swabs should not sing unless you are all fecking drunk.. Arrrghhhh maties


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 01:02 PM

The key is that a Chantey is a metrical work song, generally with verses sung by the chanteyman and choruses roared out by the crew. The work generally took place on the first beat of the chorus. This allowed the crew to coordinate their efforts.

Non-working songs at sea were known as Forebitters after the location aboard where the crew were sometimes allowed to hang out in their leisure hours. Many of them were imports from Vaudeville and the English music halls.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: MMario
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 01:05 PM

in the general - non-academic context many members of an audience would lump Forebitters under "chantey".


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 03:43 PM

But many sailors themselves DID make the distinction - the shanty or chantey (take your choice on the spelling) was a working song, fitted to the rhythm of the task and lasting as long as the job lasted. Forebitters or fo'c'sle songs (again, take your choice) were sung for pleasure, shanties - at least on working sailing ships, were never sung recreationally.
Certainly the British practice was that the shanty was a merchant marine thing - singing at work in the Royal Navy was a flogging offence. Shantying made up for the short-handed crews as sail tried to compete with steam - a good shantyman was worth ten extra hands on the rope.
There is no "right" set of words for a shanty. Each shantyman had his own sets, would make up verses about events or characters on board, and if the job went on after he'd finished his "normal" set of verses, he had to keep the song going, by bringing in verses from other shanties or making them up. Texts in books are just the way the song was sung once, by one particular shantyman, who may never have sung it the same way before or since.
Shanties are many things, but "exactly" they aint.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 04:04 PM

Stan Hugill's book "Shanties of the Seven Seas" is an excellent reference on sea shanties. He explains how the various shanties which were made up and sung by the shantyman to suit the job in hand. They had quite a simple repetitive refrain for the most part. The crew responded by singing and pulling together on specific words to create the maximum effort needed for the extremely heavy work.. The shanty also provided some light relief for the sailors because the verse often consisted of bawdy humour and p**s taking of the "Afterguard" - the captain, officers and the 1st & 2nd mate.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty? Commercial
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 10:48 AM

I have two Hugill books plus an excellent copy of American Sea Songs and Shanties by Frank Shay all for sale.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 12:31 PM

"The key is that a Chantey is a metrical work song," I thought they were mostly "Imperial" didn't realise they'd been "metricated" :)
JohnB


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 05:13 PM

For the best description, go to Jody Gibson's web site.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: Simbo
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM

Check out Paul Clayton's album Whaling And Sailing Songs - probably out of production, but the sleevenotes give an interesting history of shanties and fo'c'sle songs. Interestingly, there are different types of shanty, eg capstan shanties, for different jobs on board. Unlike fo'c'sle songs which were generally ballads (eg Fair Spanish Ladies), shanties have a regular refrain along the lines of to-me-weigh or aweigh-boys-aweigh, on which the work was done.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: open mike
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 10:17 PM

and for those not in the know
I believe the capstan is a device
which in pre deisel days was probably
a mere pully type object-a rotating
wheel that the rope travelled thru/around
while being pulled. With the advent of
engines on board, there is a motorized
revolving wheel which assists the rope
when wrapped around it and helps to pull
the rope thru by rotating...well, a
picture is worth a thousand words, but
not having a picture.....and the ropes
raise or lower the sails--duh....


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 09 Mar 03 - 10:34 PM

Dave- I tried to access your collectorsfolk website, and was refused by something called the Web standards Assn. In trying to find out about this group, I started a thread, 57549: Web standards

The consensus from respondents is that this group is trying to enforce something that is not agreed upon. See especially John in Kansas.
I will avoid sites which shoot up this message.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: Ian
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:53 AM

Well T-tone, I think it is a work song used by sailors. The earliest records of this practice.
1. 1066 one of the monks with duke william as they left Normandy wrote that the sailors sang chants as they raised the sails.
The Normans were of Viking origin (Norse men)
2. an earlier instance c400AD another monk (could be Bead) wrote of saxon sailors singing chants as they hauled ropes and nets.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 02:11 AM

Accuracy ~ If Ian, 9 years ago in last post of the old lot, meant Bede, then he was nearer 700 than 400 AD.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 04:58 AM

I wish I had some recording devise a week last Sunday when I was on Sanyang Beach in The Gambia and a bunch of around 30 fisherman were using a shanty to haul a huge pirogue (fishing boat) up the steep beach before they unloaded and sold their catch. They were all Senegalese and were singing in Wolof.
I got excellent photos, but it was hearing a shanty in functional use that was exciting.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: John Minear
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 06:52 AM

Here are two threads that might be of interest:

thread.cfm?threadid=128220

This one is listed above at the head of the list. There is also this one, which for some reason is not listed above:

thread.cfm?threadid=126347


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 07:36 AM

Vic , you must get a mobile phone with a recording device, they are not very ex pensive. I do not like mobile phones but for situations like that they are useful, they are unobtrusive and a portable recording device


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: johncharles
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 07:51 AM

GHANA FISHERMEN
JOHN


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 08:13 AM

Vic-

Hearing a real traditional work song is a thrill. I managed to record one while in the Peace Corps years ago (1968) when some farmers outside my house were transplanting huge banana-like trees in the adjacent lot in our village in Gurage, Ethiopia. It sounded just like a halyard shanty, in a modal mode with a crescendo of yips and yelps as it built to a climax. When I asked my students what the words meant they said, "Sir, you don't want to know; they're being very rude."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST,LIghter
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 10:35 AM

Charley, you mean you didn't insist?!

But maybe they were about the Peace Corps....

But seriously, these cases are significant: what are the chances that people in Gurage, Ethiopia, or in Gambia, learned the modal, yelping style from Stan Hugill?

Zero.

What are the chances that Stan learned it from his West Indian informants, who'd learned it from ancient practice?

Pretty good.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 11:52 AM

awhile back, I was watching a documentary that included a segment on the Yellow River and I got to listen to a Chinese "shantyman" leading a group of rivermen who had to tow cargo barges thru really treacherous terrain... no donkeys or mules... just men who were at risk of falling & being lost in the river.

no jolly bargment there


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: radriano
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 12:02 PM

Women should sing shanties in their panties.


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Subject: RE: What exactly is a sea shanty?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Apr 12 - 10:46 PM

Lighter-

And I was just reading about a book by a chief salvage officer describing his experience raising ships and repairing them in the harbor of Massawa, Eritrea, in 1942, after the Italians had sabotaged the port. The relevant part is that the Eritrean work crews who scrapped off the bottoms of the ships did their work much more efficiently when they used their shanties. Of course he failed to note what they were singing, describing them as "primitive jungle chants."

Richard-

There's nothing like a "shanty raid" to lift the spirits.

Charley Noble


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