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Sea Shanties


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There is John Townley's "Seaman's Concertina" which is a DVD, not a tune book. It assumes a 30 button Anglo in C/G.

 

It is actually a terrible[*] digital copy of a VHS tape, but the content is fun and John focuses on an ear approach to learning and playing sailor's songs in his style. There is a lot to learn from this tape, I have only just started. Actually, your post reminded me that I had bought this DVD some time ago and done nothing with it.

 

Then there are hundreds of sailor's songs on Youtube. I say sailor's songs rather than shanties because shanties were usually unaccompanied work songs, whereas there are lots of sailor's songs (about women, the hard life at sea, leaving port, arriving at port etc...) that are not shanties and are more suitable to play with accompaniment.

 

When you find a song you like then odds are that it will be available in abc format which you can then convert to sheet music in the key that you like. If you do not know about abc format then you are about to discover an amazing resource.

 

The Seaman's Concertina is available from the Button Box, Lark in the Morning and is usually listed on eBay.

 

Don.

 

[*] Terrible in that it is a mono recording that is only played on one channel, the sound has been recorded with too much gain, and the video and audio are out of sync with each other! Be warned: if you are an audiophile then I doubt you could tolerate this DVD.

 

I have used Transcribe! to fix/ameliorate the one channel problem and to adjust the video and audio so that they are almost synchronized.

 

It is still a fun video.

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Re: "The Seaman's Concertina" by John Townley

 

I still own a VHS of this, bought from Lark in the Morning a long time ago. It's a bit entertaining, but not very informative. When the tape broke a few years back, I never bothered to try to repair or replace it - it just wasn't worth the effort. Plus, the original $30 price was way too much for the short, poor-quality production you got. He had another tape out that I bought on simple concertina and melodeon repairs that was even more worthless than the first. Suggest you save your money on this one.

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Love this resource! Thanks. Wish there were more English lyrics, but they're easily found.

 

"some easy tunes:

a Dutch 100 page pdf online document with free sheet music tunes Shanties

some famous international tunes

 

http://hjj.home.xs4a...mansliedjes.pdf

 

texts of some tunes can be found on the net."

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Can anyone provide translation of the Dutch titles (including the ones in medleys)? I'd like to investigate a bit, but haven't a prayer with reading Dutch.

 

Have you tried Google Translate? Here's a page where you can type in the Dutch and get English translation. Sometimes humorous, occasionally quite wrong, but more often than not a reasonable translation.

 

If the Dutch is a translation of an English title, the meaning of Google's version may be similar but the title not exactly the original. But note that some shanties are truly Dutch and not just translations or rewrites of English originals.

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Have you tried Google Translate? Here's a page where you can type in the Dutch and get English translation. Sometimes humorous, occasionally quite wrong, but more often than not a reasonable translation.

And Google does often provide alternative translations. A case in point:

"Het Maatje van de Schipper"

The first translation I get from Google is "The buddy of Schipper". But if I move my cursor over "Schipper" it becomes highlighted with a yellow background, and clicking on that gives me a list of alternatives, including both "Skipper" and "Captain". Doing the same for "buddy" isn't very helpful, yet if I enter that word alone on a separate line, one of the alternatives is "mate". (As you can see, there can be inconsistencies.) In this particular case, then, I would translate that title as "The Captain's Mate".

 

I don't find that immediately as the name of a shanty in English, though it seems to be a common enough expression. Searching for the Dutch title (and the word "tekst"), I found these words, which seem to be a version of the English "Handsome Cabin Boy", and the tune from which I took the title seems to be a variant of the one I know for the English song.

 

Hmm. Seems that looking up translations of titles isn't necessarily going to get the results you want. On the other hand, "Grimsby Lads" is a well known English song, and the title is already in English.

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Here's a YouTube video (originally captured in 1983) of a "Sailor Song" that I think is a good example of the genre: http://youtube.com/watch?v=j3-YZhjXZls. There's a bit of a glitch in the first few seconds, but it's all good beyond that.

 

Edited to add that other segments of the same program can be found on YouTube (if you care to search them out), with more singing and related stories.

Edited by Bruce McCaskey
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Have you tried Google Translate? Here's a page where you can type in the Dutch and get English translation. Sometimes humorous, occasionally quite wrong, but more often than not a reasonable translation.

And Google does often provide alternative translations. A case in point:

"Het Maatje van de Schipper"

The first translation I get from Google is "The buddy of Schipper". But if I move my cursor over "Schipper" it becomes highlighted with a yellow background, and clicking on that gives me a list of alternatives, including both "Skipper" and "Captain". Doing the same for "buddy" isn't very helpful, yet if I enter that word alone on a separate line, one of the alternatives is "mate". (As you can see, there can be inconsistencies.) In this particular case, then, I would translate that title as "The Captain's Mate".

 

I don't find that immediately as the name of a shanty in English, though it seems to be a common enough expression. Searching for the Dutch title (and the word "tekst"), I found these words, which seem to be a version of the English "Handsome Cabin Boy", and the tune from which I took the title seems to be a variant of the one I know for the English song.

 

Hmm. Seems that looking up translations of titles isn't necessarily going to get the results you want. On the other hand, "Grimsby Lads" is a well known English song, and the title is already in English.

 

That has been my experience in the past....

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