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Sea Shanty Sheet Music


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#1 dmk56

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 02:46 PM

Hi!

 

I want to learn to play sea shanties - like "Fiddler's Green" or "Go to Sea Once More".  I can find the lyrics, but I can't find the music.  Any ideas?  What I would really like is one that shows both notes and chords, such as used in this video for "Go to sea once more"

 

I play fiddle and can read music pretty well.  I'm not so good at trying to re-create something by just listening to it.

 

Another question.  I'm new to concertina's and the one that I have to use is English.  Am I wasting my time wanting to do sea shanties on the English?  Most video's I've seen so far were played with the anglo - with the one exception being Fiddler's Green: played by Liam Clancy.

 

Dave



#2 Jack Campin

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 03:50 PM

"Fiddler's Green" is not a shanty.  It's a modern English song.  Here it is sung by John Conolly, who wrote it:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=3-yzh8bO6PM

 

I think Bill Whaley is using an English concertina to accompany him.  He plays Anglo as well.



#3 cryptastix

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 03:59 PM

im struggling to choose what style of concertina too. From what i gather so far (and keep in mind, i just want to play solo)

 

anglo is good for inherit rhythm and harmony. 

 

duet, and to a lesser extent english are for musicians that just have a natural brain capacity for it. and sound terrible unless the people know what they are doing. The anglo sounds fantastic even if you only have a mediocore music talent. And by no means dont get me wrong. The anglo has huge capacity for music in a very concertina sort of way.

 

 

From what i gather its kinda like this:

 

anglo is like your standard guitar tuning... chords just sound *right* and *normal* on the anglo. but the duet and english are more like open guitar tunings. it sounds awesome and cool... but just some how not correct.

 

at any rate, im no expert, so hopefully the real tunes can chime in :)



#4 JimLucas

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 04:03 PM

What I would really like is one that shows both notes and chords, such as used in this video for "Go to sea once more"

 

Is this the video you meant?


I play fiddle and can read music pretty well. I'm not so good at trying to re-create something by just listening to it.


It's a skill that can be learned, and it's very much worth the effort. As with so many things, it's best to start with something simple (simple tunes, even ones you already know) and gradually work through progressively more complicated ones.

 

It will almost certainly get easier with practice.  It definitely did for me.  I could already do it a bit with songs when I went straight to the "difficult" end:  I tried transcribing Irish reels -- including ornaments -- from an LP.  The first one took me 3 full days.  The second one took me 8 hours.  The third one took me 2 hours.  And so on.

 

Songs are generally much slower and simpler, though hearing what chords are used -- if indeed "chords" are the basis for an accompaniment -- adds a dimension that takes additional work.


Edited by JimLucas, 12 August 2016 - 04:21 PM.


#5 gcoover

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 04:13 PM

Hi Dave,

If you can hold out to the end of the year or so, I'm currently working on The Pocket Shantyman which will include 100 songs of the sea. Each will have music and lyrics, any maybe chords (although I hate to lock in specific chords when there can be so many great variations). It'll be on Amazon.com when the time comes - currently still in dry dock!

 

Gary



#6 lachenal74693

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 04:38 PM

I want to learn to play sea shanties...I can find the lyrics, but I can't find the music.  Any ideas?

What I would really like is one that shows both notes and chords..

 

If you can't wait for Mr. Coovers book, you could try and track down a copy of Shanties from the Seven Seas by Stan Hugill.

It was first published in the 1960s. My copy is a reprint from Mystic Seaport, 2014, ISBN: 0-913372-70-6 - cost me 30squids

on Amazon though...

 

It has music and words for 200+ shanties (and much more), but not the chords.

 

Hugills books are worth a look in any case - Sailortown is a great read...

 

You could also look for ABC versions of shanties - some of those may have chords (although I didn't find any with chords

when I did a small random trawl on the internet just now).

 

Roger


Edited by lachenal74693, 12 August 2016 - 04:59 PM.


#7 JimLucas

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 05:20 PM

I want to learn to play sea shanties...I can find the lyrics, but I can't find the music.  Any ideas?

What I would really like is one that shows both notes and chords..

 

If you can't wait for Mr. Coovers book, you could try and track down a copy of Shanties from the Seven Seas by Stan Hugill.

It was first published in the 1960s. My copy is a reprint from Mystic Seaport, 2014, ISBN: 0-913372-70-6 - cost me 30squids

on Amazon though...

 

It has music for 200+ shanties (and much more), but not the chords.

 

Stan's book has the music and words to traditional shanties and forebitters, both from his own experience as a shantyman and from other collectors.

 

What it doesn't have is songs that have been composed since the days of the windjammers.  (Fiddler's Green is just one of many, one which has become so popular that it is more often published as "traditional" than with credit to its author.  John Connolly would be rich if he were to receive all the royalties that he's legally entitled to.)

 

A brief word about shanties and forebitters:

  • Strictly speaking, not all "sea songs" are "shanties", no more than all "classical" music is "opera".
  • True shanties were work songs and were never accompanied by an instrument, since that would be a pair of hands not available for doing the work.  Also, the work itself involved pushes and pulls, not sharp blows, so sharply rhythmic chording will give a song a feeling very different from when it's used as an actual shanty.  I never accompany real shanties if I have an audience that will sing on the chorus parts that the working sailors would sing.  If I encounter an audience that doesn't sing along, I will sometimes attempt to simulate the presence of more voices by adding harmony lines on the concertina, but I do not use rhythmic chording... on shanties.
  • "Forebitters" is a name commonly given to songs sung by sailors when they were not working (when they would gather around the "forebitts" for shared entertainment)..  These might be accompanied on whatever instruments -- if any -- happened to be available.  Chording and harmonies were improvised and took whatever form(s) the instrumentalists felt like playing.  Most modern or contemporary "sailor" songs should be classed as forebitters, not shanties, but that does mean that they're suitable for whatever interpretation and accompaniment the singer or his/her companions feel like adding.

Edited by JimLucas, 12 August 2016 - 05:40 PM.


#8 JimLucas

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 05:38 PM

im struggling to choose what style of concertina too. From what i gather so far (and keep in mind, i just want to play solo)

 

anglo is good for inherit rhythm and harmony. 

 

duet, and to a lesser extent english are for musicians that just have a natural brain capacity for it. and sound terrible unless the people know what they are doing. The anglo sounds fantastic even if you only have a mediocore music talent. And by no means dont get me wrong. The anglo has huge capacity for music in a very concertina sort of way.

 

 

From what i gather its kinda like this:

 

anglo is like your standard guitar tuning... chords just sound *right* and *normal* on the anglo. but the duet and english are more like open guitar tunings. it sounds awesome and cool... but just some how not correct.

 

at any rate, im no expert, so hopefully the real tunes can chime in :)

 

My perspective disagrees with many of the things you've said here,  but I'll have to elaborate on that later.  It's past midnight here, and a number of wooden schooners have been gathering in the harbor for events this weekend, so I'm planning to do some busking on the quay tomorrow.  :)

 

For what it's worth, when I do accompany myself, it will only be on English concertina.  B)



#9 lachenal74693

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 12:52 AM

...True shanties were work songs and were never accompanied by an instrument...

 

For example, this YouTube clip from the film of Moby Dick:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=hdiFYCUP9oU

 

featuring A L Lloyd (in a particularly villainous-looking eyepatch) leading the crew in Blood Red Roses

and Heave Away My Johnnies...

 

There's also some nice 'tina playing of A-Rovin in one of the earlier scenes in the film - Alf Edwards is

the actual player I think? I think the instrument shown is an English?

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=iuOGkY2dNOg

 

Roger


Edited by lachenal74693, 13 August 2016 - 12:57 AM.


#10 Jack Campin

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 04:48 AM

There is an enlightening discussion of "Blood Red Roses" here:

 

http://mudcat.org/th...?threadid=34080

 

The history of shanties gets mind-bogglingly convoluted and confusing.






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