Mudcat Café message #466153 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34323   Message #466153
Posted By: Dave (the ancient mariner)
19-May-01 - 07:48 AM
Thread Name: The origin of Sea Chanteys
Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys
The Oxford English dictionary states that Shanty probably derives from the French Chantez. The English word To CHANT (measured monotonous song)is of French origin. Since the only written language used in England was Latin, and the only spoken language was bastardised by the introduction of Norman French in 1066; it is entirely likely that the spelling of Shanty/Chanty is French in origin. Having said that Shanty ,is still the official spelling in the English dictionary. In Elizabethan times trumpets, drums and "Chanters" were frequently used aboard ships to entertain, and pass orders. The Bosuns call (pipe) was not only a mark of rank aboard ship, but also used to pass orders to the crew ; the reason that whistling is strictly forbidden aboard ship (Royal Navy); and considered bad luck on Merchant ships. The debate about the origins of Sea Shanties on this thread, has been interesting and informative. The origin of Shanties is clouded in folklore and the oral tradition. No nation or race can be said to be the originator of this type of song. Clearly the Vikings used chants and songs to row their vessels and I'm sure the Portugese, Spanish and Dutch nations had their songs too. Any attempt to attribute the source or main influence to any particular race is futile. I think that the tradition leads one to assume that all music, song, is a uniquely human condition; and the attempt to coordinate hard work by chant and song is one of the common links that we all share alike. Yours, Aye. Dave