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Gibb Sahib Chanteys in Royal Navy? (96* d) RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy? 21 Aug 17

I have not seen any evidence for "two, six, heave" before the mid-20th century -- then again, I have not searched hard for any either --

But it stands to reason that if before some 20th c. date the navy men were not saying 2-6-heave in the relevant situations, then what, if anything, were they saying? Well, I've offered evidence that one of the things they said was simply "1-2-3" (which makes a lot more sense than 2-6-heave, now doesn't it!?).

Lighter's reference, which uses the term "song," suggests that either something other than "1-2-3" was recited at that time OR, I think, that the same was vocalized in some way that made it different than ordinary speech.

My concern/suggestion is that the various situations in which one might supply a sound to accompany action on a ship include enough diversity that to make blanket statements about "Work chants - yes or no?" is perhaps less enlightening than to focus on the specific task. Somewhat as an aside, I believe that "long drags" halyards and heaving at the lever windlass were the "native" applications for the chanty songs in the strict sense of chanty as a song genre. Prior to the introduction of the chanty genre to ships, the lever windlass situation is moot (it wasn't invented yet) and as for halyards, the evidence doesn't indicate that any singing was customary. The handspike windlass (on merchant ships), capstan (on men of war), and short drags were all other, separate matters I prefer to view case-by-case than under the umbrella of a chanty-ing tradition per se. Cheers.

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