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Sea shanties & things

VIN 21 Jan 04 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,MMario 21 Jan 04 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Santa 21 Jan 04 - 08:57 AM
Leadfingers 21 Jan 04 - 09:01 AM
curmudgeon 21 Jan 04 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,LIGHTER 21 Jan 04 - 10:06 AM
Amos 21 Jan 04 - 10:13 AM
manitas_at_work 21 Jan 04 - 10:21 AM
VIN 21 Jan 04 - 11:00 AM
SeanM 21 Jan 04 - 11:47 AM
Charley Noble 21 Jan 04 - 12:34 PM
dick greenhaus 21 Jan 04 - 12:58 PM
GUEST 21 Jan 04 - 01:16 PM
Santa 21 Jan 04 - 02:00 PM
wysiwyg 21 Jan 04 - 02:28 PM
Uncle_DaveO 21 Jan 04 - 02:37 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: VIN
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 08:23 AM

Recently saw the film 'Master & Commander' (which i thought was excellent) and was wondering whether the singing of songs (shanties) was not allowed on Royal Navy ships whilst actually working, as the only shanties sung seemed to be when the crew were relaxing. Were actual working songs only sung on merchant ships? Also, when was the word 'Larboard' replaced by 'Port'?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 08:25 AM

My understanding is that working shanties were not allowed on RN ships as they suppossedly led to a lack of discipline. this could be totally an 'urban rumour' but it is what I have always been told.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 08:57 AM

My understanding is that shanties are working songs: songs sung by sailors off duty are forebitters. Presumably even if the same song.

Also, the Navy's ships used music (possibly from the marine band?), rather than song, to synchonise the working. So you might have had a drum beat to pace the hauling, pumping etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 09:01 AM

Shanties as work songs were only used on Merchant Ships. The Royal Navy usually had a Fiddler to provide the rythm for Capstans, pumps, sheets, etc on their vessels. As posted above songs sung 'off watch'
were called Forebitters.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: curmudgeon
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 09:24 AM

Al work on Royal Navy vessels was done to the bos'n's pipe.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: GUEST,LIGHTER
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 10:06 AM

Sources agree that shantying was forbidden in the Royal Navy. My impression is that it was likewise prohibited in the USN. Does anyone know for sure?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 10:13 AM

WOuldn't what the men to go around organizing themselves, would we? What would be left for the orsifers tuh do then?

A


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 10:21 AM

According to Stan Hugill (I think) there was always so much spare labour on a navy ship that shanties weren't necessary to encourga ethe extra effort needed.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: VIN
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 11:00 AM

Ta for that, but how about larboard to port then or does larbourd mean summat else?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: SeanM
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 11:47 AM

Another aspect of shantying that I have oft heard in relation to the RN ban...

Sound carries well across water. VERY well. If you are in unfriendly territory (or even in neutral water), you might not want 40 blokes yelling "HUH!" in unison every couple minutes. It'd be rather recognizeable in ways that normal ship creaking and even higher pitched noises like pipes or small drums (that won't carry as far) would not be.

Of course, there's no documentation on this that I've ever seen. Just several references that tend to conflict with each other. Apocryphal references, ahoy!

M


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 12:34 PM

According to THE OXFORD COMPANION TO SHIPS AND THE SEA, P.466:

"During the early years of the 19th century the term larboard began to give away to port as a helm order in order to avoid confusion with the similar sounding starboard, and the change was made official in 1844."

Hope that is helpful.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 12:58 PM

I've always wondered about stamp-and-go shanties like "Drunken Sailor". Obviously required a large crew--which suggests Naval vessels. Anybody have any info?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 01:16 PM

Stan Hugill says that sailors on naval ships were often nicknamed "Johnny Haul Taut". Simply because they were not allowed to talk whilst working?

As it has been mentioned before, the work setting sail, raising the anchor etc., was done to the rhythm of drums and fifes played by the marines, or a lone fiddler perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: Santa
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:00 PM

I have heard that the Napoleonic wars caused such a shortage of merchant sailors that many of the previous sea shanties were lost. This seems, to me, too far in advance of the collectors to be convincing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: wysiwyg
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:28 PM

LOL! Just speaking as an outsider who doesn't know a damn thing about shanties, I gotta tell ya--- finding out they weren't allowed on Navy ships is about as huge (to me) as it would be to not know that spirituals were sung by slaves!

Like, it's a really big mindf*ck! "???????????????"

So, it's good to know it now!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Sea shanties & things
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:37 PM

GUEST said:
Stan Hugill says that sailors on naval ships were often nicknamed "Johnny Haul Taut". Simply because they were not allowed to talk whilst working?

What connection would the words "Johnny Haul Taut" have to do with not talking?

Dave Oesterreich


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