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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Gibb Sahib The Advent and Development of Chanties (875* d) RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties 31 Aug 17

This is not really the thread to go around and around again with these 2-bit comments.

In brief: We largely have musicologist and organist Richard Runciman Terry to thank for popularizing the "sh" spelling particularly in spheres of UK and Commonwealth English. Terry was not a chantyman, but rather an academic musician who favored a "sh" spelling because he worried people would mispronounce the French-style orthography "ch" and because he had a theory that the word related to huts/small dwellings. There was also an aversion to things French going on. He was met with resistance by other UK colleagues. Yet due to his classical music clout, not his seafaring or scholarly clout, Terry won out. He put together one of the most handy collections of pre-arranged chanties set to piano accompaniment. The book was a boon to the people in classical and popular music circles -- those people that had no idea how to create music without having the dots on the page. It became the basis of countless performances and recording which, naturally enough, used the "sh" spelling it contained. The American chanty collection editor Concord followed in the steps of Terry, and her own book became poised as a resource for folk revival people like Lloyd and MacColl. Hugely entered the scene after both Terry and Colcord, also borrowing heavily from their works, and added another coat to the varnish.

Any spelling is indeed "good enough" for basic communication, but if you want to do any research on the subject before the 1920s, then you'd better be prepared to use "ch" spellings.

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