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Chanteys in Royal Navy?

Lighter 16 Aug 17 - 02:22 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Aug 17 - 03:14 PM
Lighter 16 Aug 17 - 09:27 PM
Gurney 19 Aug 17 - 07:10 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Aug 17 - 11:15 PM
vectis 21 Aug 17 - 03:26 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 21 Aug 17 - 03:45 AM
Teribus 21 Aug 17 - 05:35 AM
Gibb Sahib 21 Aug 17 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Derrick 21 Aug 17 - 09:26 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Aug 17 - 01:23 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Aug 17 - 03:35 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Aug 17 - 03:52 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Aug 17 - 07:05 PM
Teribus 22 Aug 17 - 02:21 AM
Leadfingers 22 Aug 17 - 04:38 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Aug 17 - 04:49 AM
GUEST 22 Aug 17 - 05:54 AM
Teribus 22 Aug 17 - 06:39 AM
bazza 23 Aug 17 - 03:50 AM
GUEST,Derrick 24 Aug 17 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Tyro Sailor 24 Aug 17 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,Derrick 25 Aug 17 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 25 Aug 17 - 05:11 AM
Gibb Sahib 26 Aug 17 - 09:59 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Aug 17 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Derrick 27 Aug 17 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 24 Apr 19 - 09:02 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 25 Apr 19 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Teribus 25 Apr 19 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 25 Apr 19 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 25 Apr 19 - 05:29 PM
Lighter 26 Apr 19 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 26 Apr 19 - 02:03 PM
Ged Fox 29 Apr 19 - 03:49 AM
Gibb Sahib 29 Apr 19 - 04:26 AM
Gibb Sahib 29 Apr 19 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Apr 19 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Apr 19 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Apr 19 - 12:39 PM
GUEST 29 Apr 19 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Apr 19 - 12:43 AM
GUEST 30 Apr 19 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Apr 19 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Apr 19 - 01:18 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 19 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Apr 19 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Observer 30 Apr 19 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Observer 01 May 19 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,Observer 02 May 19 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 05:57 AM
Gibb Sahib 02 May 19 - 07:17 AM
punkfolkrocker 02 May 19 - 10:58 AM
Lighter 02 May 19 - 12:19 PM
punkfolkrocker 02 May 19 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 02:04 PM
Steve Gardham 02 May 19 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Observer 02 May 19 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 May 19 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 May 19 - 03:54 PM
Steve Gardham 03 May 19 - 03:58 PM
Steve Gardham 03 May 19 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Observer 03 May 19 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:07 PM
GUEST 04 May 19 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:59 PM
Gibb Sahib 04 May 19 - 05:09 PM
punkfolkrocker 05 May 19 - 03:08 AM
Ged Fox 05 May 19 - 10:12 AM
Steve Gardham 06 May 19 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 May 19 - 07:01 PM
GUEST 06 May 19 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 May 19 - 07:10 PM
GUEST 06 May 19 - 07:31 PM
punkfolkrocker 06 May 19 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 May 19 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 15 Jul 19 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 Aug 19 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,Observer 03 Aug 19 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Aug 19 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Aug 19 - 02:52 AM
GUEST 04 Aug 19 - 08:44 AM
goatfell 04 Aug 19 - 09:20 AM
goatfell 04 Aug 19 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 05 Aug 19 - 01:07 PM
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Subject: Early Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Aug 17 - 02:22 PM

It's generally agreed that chanteys were not routinely permitted in the Royal Navy of the "Great Age of Chanteying," ca.1830-1880.

But there's at least one apparent reference to RN sailors of the previous generation singing while hauling.

From Marine Lieut. Henry Barnet Gascoigne, "Gascoigne's Path to Naval Fame," 2nd edition (1825), p.75:

"Beating to Windward...
Now with a song the Bow-lines well they Haul;
The Weather Braces then Haul-taught of all."

On the other hand, as Hugill and others observe, the bowline (regardless of the well-known chantey) was not the sort of rope that needed a whole song. Gascoigne himself defines it as follows (p.167):

"Small ropes attached the Leeches or sides of the sails, to bowse or draw the weather side forward when sailing upon a wind, that is, beating to windward."

But possibly what Gascoigne heard was merely a "sing-out" or a single line.

According to correspondent in the Times (Aug. 26, 1918), Gascoigne served in the RN frigate Melpomene in 1805.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Aug 17 - 03:14 PM

Hi Jon
Gibb would no doubt have the actual references but I seem to remember
the east coast naval cutters that specialised in pressing seamen were known to have sung chanteys during the Napoleonic Wars. The particular chantey mentioned was 'Cheerily-man'. Whether this type of chanteying was related in some way to the great mid-Atlantic period c1830-60 I couldn't say. I very much doubt if the word 'chantey'
as applied to sea labour song was used during the Napoleonic Wars. Note that in the above poem the word 'chantey' is not used though it certainly appears to be a sea-labour song being described. Has Gibb finished his book yet?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Aug 17 - 09:27 PM

Steve, I seem to remember the same thing.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Aug 17 - 07:10 PM

A guy that I knew long ago used to say that the "Only shanty allowed in the RN was 'Blow the Man Down'"

Could possibly be used on the capstan, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Aug 17 - 11:15 PM

Hauling a bowline was a "short haul" task, comparable to "boarding a tack" (tack being the line attached to the a clew of the course, below where a bowline is attached, to the leech).

Sailing ships nowadays generally don't have bowlines. I suppose there must be a few that do, perhaps replicas of 18th and early 19th century vessels? It's not something I've paid close attention to, but my non-authoritative impression is that they generally are not part of the rigging.

There is a classic book about rigging from 1915 (?); I don't remember the name. But it makes the point that in Elizabethan times bowlines were more "important" lines and, I think, heavier. I believe this is the point that Hugill was repeating when he tried to reason an age for the "Haul the Bowline" song. I consider Hugill's point to be moot to the argument about the age of "Haul the Bowline," however, since bowlines evidently were still in use in the mid-19th century, i.e. at the same time when "Haul the Bowline" appears in literature.

I'm no expert on the timeline of bowline use. However, Harlow (who sailed in 1875) talks about bowlines. He says that sing-outs were sung when "hauling aft the sheet of the courses, boarding the main tack, or hauling out the bowline" (pg 5).

In _The Sailor's Word-Book_ by Smyth, 1867, the author refers to the use of bowlines, and does not say it was old/obsolete. Further, he defines the term "Bowline haul", pg 124:

//
A hearty and simultaneous bowse. (See One! Two!! Three !!!) In hauling the bowline it is customary for the leading man to veer, and then haul, three times in succession, singing out one, two, three—at the last the weight of all the men is thrown.
//

Elsewhere he denies "One, two three!" (pg 506)
//
The song with which the seamen bowse out the bowlines; the last haul being completed by belay O!
//

In Falconer's _Universal Dictionary of the Marine_, 1760s, he defined "un, deus, troi":
//
...an exclamation, or song, used by seamen when hauling the bowlines, the greatest effort being made at the last word. English sailors, in the same manner, call out on this occasion,—haul-in—haul-two—haul-belay!
//

It may be less significant that Smyth uses the phrase "singing out" and more significant that Falconer calls this simple 1,2,3 "an exclamation, or song."

There are some other references in French to vocalizing while giving stiff pulls on a bowline.

While the idea of "chanties" not being sung in navy vessels is basically true, I wouldn't read that to exclude *vocalizing* during the short hauls, i.e. bowline, tack, course sheet, and various difficult "sweats" that required multiple people.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: vectis
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 03:26 AM

I don't think the RN had shanteys, they did évolutions' which were a series of moves to achieve an action. They were practiced using a command and then counting numbers until that part of the evolution was completed. I am sure that fore-bitters were heard especially during make do and mend days.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 03:45 AM

William Bolton supplied a number of songs to folk song collector Anne Gilchrist around 1905 which later turned up in the Penguin Book of Folksong.
He had learned shanties in leasure time while serving in the Royal Navy.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Teribus
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 05:35 AM

I'd tend to go with Vectis - Commands in the RN covered evolutions concerning the sailing of the ship and serving the guns. Ship for ship RN vessels carried far larger crews than merchantmen, of those crews roughly half will be asleep, or off watch, at any given time. Singing shanties to "work" the ship would not have gone down well with those off-watch. Commands were given either by shouting numbers (Mainly when serving the guns) and by bosun's call or pipe when handling sail - both of these methods of communication orders would be heard when the ship was in action - a song would not, a song would also be rather bizarre considering what would be going on all round you.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 08:32 AM

Dudes of late:

1. The conventional wisdom, as asserted in 19th and early 20 c. sources, is indeed (already) that chanties were not sung in RN. And the absence of [other] evidence that they were supports that indirectly. No need for speculations about what "would be" the case. Lighter is presenting an actual example that might evidence an *exception* to that conventional wisdom, or which might nuance it. So steamrolling the whole topic with unsupported and non-specific chatter about what one supposes "would be" does not engage the topic.

2. Coordinating a stiff pull on a course sheet or tack in weather was not a matter of a command. The command is finished, the men are on the line. Now, the men are about to haul. Is there a sound to indicate when to pull? If so, what sound? Lighter's source refers to there being a "song." What is meant by song // what was the song? And how does this "song" relate to the popular assertion that (paraphrased) "chanties were not sung in RN"?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 09:26 AM

When I worked in Devonport Dockyard many years ago I often did jobs on ships which were in commission.
The crews would be carrying out routine jobs some of which would involve
pulling or pushing.
When the men were in position the rating in charge would give a command to ready them,followed by two,six heave,this was repeated as necessary to complete the task.
The effort was co-ordinated without the need for a song.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 01:23 PM

We are all now well aware that chanteys were not necessary and not part of the discipline on board men-of-war in the period under discussion. Having said that there seems to have been a small amount of evidence that chanteys may have been used on the smaller non-combat vessels. The men would certainly have known chanteys as many of them had been merchant seamen.

Jon,
Is Gascoigne definitely describing life in the RN at this point? Could he have been MN before that and remembering what happened there? If he is referring back to 1805 on the Melpomene it seems highly unlikely on 2 accounts.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 03:35 PM

Having an interest in shantys and an uncle that was in the RN I once asked him if he was aware of any such singing. Daft question really seeing as he was never a seaman on a sailing ship but funnily enough he was aware of some shantys. His description was that they should never be sung in mixed company :-) I guess they were what are known as focsle (sp?) songs and never used for work.

DtG


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 03:52 PM

Saw this beauty when last up in Kirkcudbright. She takes on land lubbers like me for a nominal fee and a bit of work. I am very tempted! It would probably kill me off :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 07:05 PM

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.

Steve,
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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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Teribus
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 02:21 AM

The "two-six" heave comes from the order for a guns crew to "Heave" on the tackle required to run the gun out prior to it being fired. As previously stated the RN relied on numbers and calls on a bosun's pipe.

"When the men were in position the rating in charge would give a command to ready them,followed by two,six heave,this was repeated as necessary to complete the task.
The effort was co-ordinated without the need for a song."


The command to ready them was the "Two-Six" given by whoever was in charge of the evolution the "Heave" was the response given by those on the rope, or whatever was being pulled.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 04:38 AM

I was told YEARS ago that one reason Shanties were frowned on in the RN was that they would be an opportunity to be 'impolite' to the ship's officers , to the detriment of good discipline


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 04:49 AM

Yes, Teribus, "2-6-heave" is a ubiquitous chant used *nowadays* / recently to coordinate effort. Anyone who has worked around ships since the later 20th century has heard it, and probably also heard the "guns" explanation, though people invariably cite no source. Can you date it? I would be obliged if you could. At some point was it a chant only heard in application to moving a cannon in and out of position (as, for example, it's used in demonstration at the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston, MA)? If so, when and why was it adapted for any and all combined-effort tasks? Was it Sail Training International (for example) who decided this military call would be a good one to work into their revival of seamanship, while simultaneously leaving all the chanties behind? (And did they --whoever they were-- not experience dissonance by saying "heave" when they were *hauling*?) And so what about the 1-2-3 and the haul-in-haul-2-belay attested for the 100 years from Falconer to Smyth? Chopped liver?

The OP is talking about 1825.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 05:54 AM

One explanation I came across some time ago was that 2-6 referred to groundcrew moving an aeroplane, two at the tail and six at the wings. That fits in better with a twentieth century origin for the expression, rather than a mysterious sailing ship guncrew.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Teribus
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 06:39 AM

Read what I said in my first post to this thread Gibb Sahib.

1: "Commands in the RN covered evolutions concerning the sailing of the ship and serving the guns."

2: "Commands were given either by shouting numbers (Mainly when serving the guns) and by bosun's call or pipe when handling sail - both of these methods of communication orders would be heard when the ship was in action - a song would not"

The gun thing is how it was explained to us while in the Royal Navy by RN Seamanship Instructors. As for the "what about the 1-2-3 and the haul-in-haul-2-belay attested for the 100 years from Falconer to Smyth" - Never heard of either and never used either.

2-6-Heave was also used when raising and turning out ships boats when they were hung from unpowered radial davits.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: bazza
Date: 23 Aug 17 - 03:50 AM

2-6 heave Was the standard call during my time in RN 1960`s


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 24 Aug 17 - 12:09 PM

Just found this showing the numbers of gun crew members,not sure how it relates to the origin of the 2-6-heave call number 6 being likely to be little more than a child.

See this link to see full article.

http://www.stvincent.ac.uk/heritage/1797/victory/guns.html


                                                                               The gun was served by a six man crew - known by numbers to make orders easier in the noise of battle. Number 1 was the Gun Captain who aimed and fired the gun. Number 2 used a long spike to turn and raise the barrel; Number 3 loaded the gun and rammed the shot and powder home. Number 4 sponged out the gun, ensuring that no burning powder or waste was left to cause premature ignition of the new charge. Number 5 worked opposite 2 to move the gun whilst Number 6 was the smallest and youngest member of the crew - the powder monkey. Often young boys, perhaps only 10 or 12 years old, the powder monkey collected the gunpowder charges from the magazine deep in the hold of the ship and carried it to the gun.

The whole 3.5 tonnes was now run out, with the crew straining on the carriage ropes to pull the gun muzzle through the gun port in the side of the ship. When the gun came to bear on the target, the gun captain pulled the lanyard to the flint lock. As the flint scraped across the pan a shower of sparks ignited the fine powder - which ignited the main charge and the gun fired, ejecting its iron ball with a forward velocity of some 500 metres per second. The gun would recoil backwards at some 2 metres per second, and the process of cleaning and reloading began again.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Tyro Sailor
Date: 24 Aug 17 - 08:33 PM

A gun with a six-man crew would, I think, have been a fairly small one - maybe a 12- or 18-pounder. Larger guns (24- or 32-pounders) had bigger crews of up to 12 men - maybe numbers 2 & 6 were those who led the heaving of the gun back into its firing position (it would have needed a lot more than just the two of them, unless the ship was heeling to their side).


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 25 Aug 17 - 04:14 AM

If you follow the link the full article describes a gun deck on HMS Victory.
The extract refers to the 32 pounder guns.
So far this is the best description I have found online.
There may be better descriptions elsewhere which I have not found yet.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 25 Aug 17 - 05:11 AM

Wasn't there a landing gun that had a ten man crew?

1 Corporal
2-6 on the rope
7-10 on the wheel(s)

Big deal at Ladysmith?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 26 Aug 17 - 09:59 PM

At the risk of fueling off-topic discussion... :o

A cursory Google search suggests that the/an earlier version of the numbered chant was "1, 2, 6, heave." There are references to this in books between 1925 and the 1950s.

Time to invent a new folklore to accommodate the "1"?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Aug 17 - 09:07 AM

Has this any relevance to chanteys? Just asking!


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 27 Aug 17 - 09:38 AM

Is the discussion about 2-6-heave of relevance to shanties?
Since the thread is about R N shanty usage, yes.
It is widely accepted that the RN rarely if ever used shanties,they used something else in their place 2-6-heave which is in use today as one example.
The discussion is about the origin of the call,ie did it originate in the RN or some where else,it also being in common use.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 24 Apr 19 - 09:02 PM

A fuller examination of Smyth: Calling-v-singing-v-stepping (see above.)

BAND. The musicians of a band are called idlers in large ships.... ;)

BOATSWAIN. The officer who superintends the boat-sails, ship's-sails, rigging, canvas, colours, anchors, cables and cordage, committed to his charge. He ought also to take care that the blocks and running ropes are regularly placed to answer the purposes for which they are intended.... He pipes the hands to their several duties, seeing that they attend his call, and ought to be in every way a thorough seaman Although termed boatswain, the boats are not in his charge.... The boatswain is the officer of the first lieutenant; he gives no order, but reports defects, and carries out the will of his superior.

BOATSWAIN'S MATE. Is an assistant to the boatswain, who had the peculiar command of the long-boat. He summons the watch or crew by his whistle, and during his watch looks to the decks, and has peculiar calls for "grog," "'bout ship," "pipe to breakfast," " sweepers," &c.

BRING-TO AN ANCHOR, To. To let go the anchor in the intended port. "All hands bring ship to an anchor!" The order by which the people are summoned for that duty, by the pipes of the boatswain and his mates.

CALL. A peculiar silver pipe or whistle, used by the boatswain and his mates to attract attention, and summon the sailors to their meals or duties by various strains, each of them appropriated to some particular purpose, such as hoisting, heaving, lowering, veering away, belaying, letting go a tackle-fall, sweeping, &c. This piping is as attentively observed by sailors, as the bugle or beat of drum is obeyed by soldiers. The coxswains of the boats of French ships of war are supplied with calls to "in bow oar," or "of all," "oars," &c.

CABOOSE, Camboose, Coboose. The cook-room or kitchen of merchantmen on deck; a diminutive substitute for the galley of a man-of-war. It is generally furnished with cast-iron apparatus for cooking.

CAPSTAN-STEP (See Step of the Capstan.) The men march round to the tune of a fiddle or fife, and the phrase of excitement is, "Step out, lads, make your feet tell."

DRUMMER. The marine who beats the drum, and whose pay is equivalent to that of a private of fourteen years' standing.

FIFER AND FIDLER. Two very important aids in eliciting exact discipline; for hoisting, warping, and heaving at the capstan in proper time; rated a second-class petty officer styled " musician," pay £30, 8s. per annum.

OFF SHE GOES! Means run away with the purchase fall Move to the tune of the fifer. The first move when a vessel is launched.

PIPE. ...Also, a peculiar whistle for summoning the men to duty, and directing their attention by its varied sounds. (See Call.)

SHANTY. A small hut on or near a beach.

SONG. The call of soundings by the leadsman in the channels. Songs are also used to aid the men in keeping time when pulling on a rope, where a fife is not available. They are very common in merchant ships. The whalers have an improvised song when cutting docks in the ice in Arctic seas.

STAMP AND GO! The order to step out at the capstan, or with hawsers, topsail-haliards, &c., generally to the fife or fiddle.

STEP OUT, To. To move along simultaneously and cheerfully with a tackle-fall, &c.

TRUMPETER. A petty officer and musician stationed on the poop, to sound salutes and various evolutionary orders.

[Smyth, Adm. W.H , The Sailor's Word Book: An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms, (London: Blackie and Son, 1867)]


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 25 Apr 19 - 03:00 PM

So, if there were musician ratings by the 1870s there would have to be an official songbook... and stuff management didn't approve of:

The Royal Naval Song Book
Tucker, W.G., Purday, C.H., London: Royal Navy, Routledge and Sons, c.1870

William Guise-Tucker (He's one of those Blue Light fellows)

The Royal Naval song book

"Mostly arr. for voices in four parts, in score. "This book is issued to the Royal Navy in the hope that it will introduce some better songs into the Service" [Preface.]" - By authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

After centuries of usage Salve Regina and the like had been totally banned and all the old songbooks burned. The place went to crap for a century or so. Enter the Blue Lights.

Big difference between an English Navy and a British Navy.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 25 Apr 19 - 03:16 PM

No difference at all between an English Navy and a British Navy, neither of which ever existed, since the time of Alfred the Great of Wessex there has only ever been a Royal Navy.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 25 Apr 19 - 03:46 PM

You're going to need more than one crayon for this.

One may call & sing in "English" but not "Royal" or "British." Stepping has no language.

Catholic psalms on a Quaker merchantman. How long can you tread water?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 25 Apr 19 - 05:29 PM

SWEEPS. Large oars used on board ships of war in a calm, either to assist the rudder in turning them round, or to propel them ahead when chasing in light winds. Brigs of 386 tons have been swept at 3 knots or more.
(see Boatswain's Mate & Call above.)

On French vessels sweepers were the chiourme. Looks like “choir” but traces back to the Latin celeusma. In Southern France they were likely “galley slaves.” The Atlantic side not so much.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 19 - 10:52 AM

"The Royal Naval Song Book" was issued "By authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty" and included "appropriate music from the most popular composers."

Chanteys? One doubts it.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 26 Apr 19 - 02:03 PM

"Chanteys? One doubts it."

SHANTY. A small hut on or near a beach. (No "chantey" t'all.)

"... in the hope that it will introduce some better songs into the Service."

A senior Blue Light officer like Tucker would be all over the forebitters too. We do know sailors borrowed heavily from popular music: Heart of Oak; running with, and getting out of the way of, bulgines &c. That said, Tucker's glossary suggests instrumentals for the fife. Fiddlers had options.

Seems our boy went after the merchant fleet and general public as well:

"Everybody's song-book: a collection of nearly two hundred popular and national songs, duets, trios, rounds, and harmonized airs, set to English words."
[Same authors and publishers as before.]


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 03:49 AM

I asked in a less appropriate thread, and received no reply, "Did they sing shanties in the fighting navies of other nations than Britain?"


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 04:26 AM

Ged Fox,

The custom of applying the practice of singing chanties to work tasks at sea seems to have been nearly exclusively confined to merchant vessels, particularly square-rigged ones with mostly Anglophone crews. (So, the answer is no -- neither Britain nor other nations's navies.***)

That isn't to say *a* chanty was *never* sung by *anyone* on a navy vessel, but that the custom seems to to have been adopted. I personally don't think that has as much to do with lack of need (e.g. the argument that there were too many crew on a military vessel to necessitate applying chanties to work), as much as with the work-culture in such vessels and what was deemed appropriate.

As discussed, some forms of vocalization may have been viewed as more or less appropriate and even customary in the military vessels, but these don't match the generic form of chanties.

On the other hand, chanties were sung from dawn to dusk at various jobs on the waterfront, with greater frequency than they were sung at sea. Think of that work environment, and the people who were involved, and then just shift this work-space to sea (merchant ship). Singing chanties was a practice shared across this work environment/community, whether its members were on land or at sea.

On the other other hand, if singing chanties was not part of the discipline of being in the military on land, then why expect it in the military environment on the sea? To expect that, I think, is to make an error of assigning "on the sea" as a high-level defining feature of chanty genre. I suggest this was rather more incidental.

***Footnote: I'm not talking about latter-day practice of singing a chanty during leisure on navy ships.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 04:27 AM

typo, should read:
That isn't to say *a* chanty was *never* sung by *anyone* on a navy vessel, but that the custom seems NOT to have been adopted.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 12:11 PM

Tucker: "...Songs are also used to aid the men in keeping time when pulling on a rope, where a fife is not available. They are very common in merchant ships." Which is not...

Gibb: "The custom of applying the practice of singing chanties to work tasks at sea seems to have been nearly exclusively confined to merchant vessels, particularly square-rigged ones with mostly Anglophone crews.

Sorting by "English vocals only" was the personal preference of 20th century, White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant folk singers. See also Forrest, Martial &c.

Switch to Spanish or French or Catholic and the etymology/glossary changes like day and night. The rigging is deaf.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 12:13 PM

Ged: Hanging Johnny - sung by a Union African-American pulling crew during the Yank's Civil War (see Capt. T.W. Higginson.) A celeusma militaire was also one of the first pieces of martial music composed in the North American colonies but I've not been able to track it down.

Salve Regina was a standard in Catholic navies for many centuries.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 12:39 PM

Tucker: "FIFER AND FIDLER. Two very important aids in eliciting exact discipline; for hoisting, warping, and heaving at the capstan in proper time..."

Gibb: "On the other other hand, if singing chanties was not part of the discipline of being in the military on land, then why expect it in the military environment on the sea?"

Sailors & Marines: The fife, drum, trumpet, march or cadence serves on land as it does on deck. In light boats, landing parties &c the distinction is academic. The infantry fiddle concept however...


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 01:38 PM

"Sailors & Marines: The fife, drum, trumpet, march or cadence serves on land as it does on deck."

With regard to the Royal Navy from the start of the 18th Century to present:

Fife and Drum - Possibly but only on ships of the line with a full company of Royal Marines.

Drum - Definitely as it was normal on Royal Navy ships from Frigates to Ships of the Line "To Beat to Quarters" prior to going into action.

Trumpet - Never heard of it in days of sail or steam. Bugle yes but only after the age of sail and again only on ships the size of Cruisers or above. On smaller ships the bosun's call was and is still used.

Drill: Marching, the cadence thing is very American and I have never come across it. Naval drill is completely different to that used by the Army. Royal Marines [Who are part of the Royal Navy] adapt their drill to something that looks similar to that used by the Army but is "silent" in comparison. You do not teach people to stamp about on any vessel with either wooden or steel decks. The salutes used by personnel in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Army are all different due to the practicalities imposed by life at sea on a ship.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 12:43 AM

Trumpet - Never heard of it in days of sail or steam.

Natural or baroque trumpet calls - bugle calls, same-same.

U.S. Marine Corps Buglers: U.S. Army Bugle Calls - U.S. Navy Bugle Calls, Emerson Records 7177, 7", 78rpm, 1916.
U.S. Navy Bugle Calls (1964) Part I
Royal Navy and Royal Marines Bugle Calls Part 1


"...You do not teach people to stamp about on any vessel with either wooden or steel decks."

It's called stepping. The working shanty is a dance form.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 03:05 AM

Very interesting Phil but it does not alter a word of what was said in the previous post. The thread is, according to the title, about what was done, or not done, in the Royal Navy. That being the case what was done in the US Navy is of no relevance.

"Natural or baroque trumpet calls - bugle calls, same-same"

True but in all your references they refer to "Bugles" not Trumpets. And all refer to days of Steam which is in accord with -

"Bugle yes but only after the age of sail and again only on ships the size of Cruisers or above."

Bugle calls 1916; A Bugle call for repel aircraft; certainly NOT days of sail.

Now onto the practice of stamping feet in the military:

- The Army do it
- The Royal Navy DO NOT [Days of sail most sailors worked barefoot]
- The Royal Marines by movement appear to but in fact DO NOT

"It's called stepping. The working shanty is a dance form."

Never taught "stepping", never in fact heard of it, and if indeed the working shanty IS a dance form then that might provide yet another explanation as to why there were no shanty's used as working songs in the Royal Navy.

There was a call on the bosun's pipe "Hand's to skylark and dance" sounded during periods known as "Make and Mends" - it signalled permission to act on deck freely as they wished. It was their only opportunity for leisure time in the open air.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 04:31 AM

The word choice of trumpet; applying the fife to a capstan cadence &c are Smyth's definitions not mine. He wasn't a Yank.

Yes, musicianship is still a skilled trade and still less likely to be found on smaller vessels, navy or merchant. Song (not shanty) was once a Royal Navy alternative to the fife according to Smyth.

"Never taught "stepping", never in fact heard of it,...

Think Smyth's time in, not yours.

IMO Ged Fox's question isn't so far off topic it needs another thread. Got enough of that to contend with already.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:18 PM

Marching-Stepping-Pacing to cadence.

Step— A pace; progression made in walking by the removal of the foot. Hence to step out means to lengthen the pace, or to march quicker; to step back, to take one pace to the rear.

Quick step.– A military step of 30 inches, with a cadence (number of steps per minute) of 116 per minute, in the British army. It constitutes what is technically called quick time in marching. At that rate, a small body of troops can march 3:1 miles an hour without halting, but it would be better to calculate the rate of marching for infantry at 2-1/2 miles an hour.

In the German army, the quick step is 31-1/2 inches, with a cadence of 112 per minute; in the Austrian 29-1/2 inches, with a cadence of 115 to 130 per minute; in the Italian, 29-1/2 inches, with a cadence of 120 per minute. In the French army it was increased, in 1875, from 25-1/2 inches to 29-1/2 inches, and the cadence raised from 111 to 115 per minute.
[A Military Dictionary, 1878]

Musica mundana; musica humana; musica quae in quibusdam constituta est instrumentis.

It's how humans navigate wet or dry. Dunno about the “official” Royal or U.S. Navy step dimensions but sweeping or pulling at a certain “pace” or BPM does about the same thing at sea.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:58 PM

Oh absolutely Phil, we were taught the Quick Step on the Parade Ground - ROFLMAO. Actually I think the order you move off to is "Quick March" or "Slow March" - Never ordered to "Step Out" or "Step Back".

RN pace is 30 inches and the rate (IIRC) is 120 to the minute, Slow March the rate drops to 65 to the minute. Rifles, Gurkas, Light Infantry march at 140 to the minute.

"It's how humans navigate wet or dry." - Huh???

As for pulling a whaler or a cutter at sea, there is no set stroke rate - far too many variables, the rule of thumb was you did it as expeditiously as possible.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:56 PM

...we were taught the Quick Step on the Parade Ground - ROFLMAO."

One is the center of one's own universe. Smyth served in the mid-1800s. Your perspective, glossary &c are a bit off for him (see trumpet above.)


"It's how humans navigate wet or dry." - Huh???

Marching (land navigation,) orienteering, sweeping, stepping to cadence = proceleusmatic maths. Musical algebra.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 08:14 PM

Just an observation GUEST,Phil d'Conch but looking up Admiral William Henry Smyth (1788 - 1865) it would appear that he started out in the Merchant Service with the East India Company and landed in the RN by accident of the Admiralty buying the ship he was serving in. He also seems to have spent a great deal of his service career engaged in Hydrographic Survey work. Leaving the navy to engage in more academic pursuits in 1846. His promotion to flag rank came through advancement in the retired list. Most of his time in the navy were spent in the Indian Ocean and Far East, briefly in home waters followed by an extensive period in the Mediterranean (His nickname was "Mediterranean Smyth). That is a very brief sketch of the man's career and from it we can glean the following:

1. His reminiscences would be a mixture of Merchant service and Royal Navy. The terms you laboriously quoted previously demonstrate this admirably as they are a jumble of both. A Boatswain, Bosun by the way even in Smyth's time was a "Warranted" Officer, not a "Commissioned" Officer.

2. His service in ships of the line was limited and during the entire time of his service at sea he would never have known a single onshore training establishment, he would never have seen sailors "marching" as training was all done on the job at sea. I would imagine that it would be very difficult if not impossible to march round a sailing ship under way at sea.

According to the Army, the Navy doesn't March - They amble with style. Marching has got nothing whatsoever to do with "navigation" (land or otherwise) or "orienteering". Your references to marching or "stepping" only gives speed - you need more than speed to navigate.

Back on the subject of the thread - No the Royal Navy did not use or sing SHANTYS to work their ships ( If that spelling of the word is good enough for Stan Hugill it's good enough for me).


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 May 19 - 02:51 AM

Observer: "No the Royal Navy did not use or sing SHANTYS to work their ships"

Meanwhile back in 1867: "...The men march round to the tune of a fiddle or fife..."

"Songs are also used to aid the men in keeping time when pulling on a rope, where a fife is not available."

Royal Navy sailors marching and hauling to shanties... no! Fife, fiddle and a capella songs and tunes... yes!

And the "official" difference according to Hoyle and Hugill is...?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 01 May 19 - 02:01 PM

Meanwhile back in 1967? - So two years after yer man "Mediterranean Smyth" had popped his clogs and 21 years after he had left the Royal Navy.

But these are the "observations" of that "Light Blue"(??) Officer William Guise-Tucker who was a Naval Chaplain. He served in that capacity for 36 years serving as follows HMS Revenge, HMS Albion and HMS Ceylon; at HM Dockyard, Malta; in Canada; at RNH Haslar; and Greenwich Hospital, London. So in 36 years he only served in only three ships - not much seatime over the course of 36 years, the last six being Chaplain of the Fleet.

The logic normally used in describing someone's service is to list their assignment in chronological order first to last so Back in 1867 would mean yer man Guise-Tucker had been ashore for 11 or 13 years.

In your reading Phil, why don't you read up and study the ship's complements of the period in question - one thing you will find is that there were no naval musicians, the only Band the Royal Navy has ever had has been that of the Royal Marine Band Service started in 1903 - but that information has already been given either in this thread or the ladies singing sea shantys.

There was also an earlier mention of these musicians being referred to as "idlers". The term actually referred to anyone who served but did not stand watches. Individual Captains could bring anyone they wanted onto the ship under their command, as they after all would be paying for them and their keep - these were supernumeraries and not part of the ship's complement and would be the exception rather than the rule.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 May 19 - 04:05 PM

Keeping it Chicago Style simpler here: Your reference citation for the difference between songs, tunes and shanties would be...?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 May 19 - 06:52 PM

Observer: ""Light Blue"(??) Officer William Guise-Tucker who was a Naval Chaplain..."

Yup... 2nd Gen. Royal Navy Blue Light Chaplain:

Blake, Richard, Evangelicals in the Royal Navy, 1775-1815 Blue Lights and Psalm-Singers, (Rochester: Boydell & Brewer, 2008)

Based on previous Northern Mariner & International Journal of Maritime History pubs. Good stuff.

I freely admit I do not understand the Mudcat-Wiki-Hugill shanty concept. I do claim some small, practical, working experience in the, admittedly lost, hard sciences of nautical proceleusmatics and telodynamics.

You won't do the math and you're struggling with basics like "trumpet" and "step."


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 May 19 - 10:38 PM

See Gibb on Smyth & “Two-six-heave!” upthread:

"UN, deux, trois, an exclamation, or fong, ufed by feamen when hauling the bowlines the greateft effort being made at the laft word. Englifh failors, in the fame manner, call out on this occafion – haul-in – haul -two – haul-belay!"
[Universal Dictionary of the Marine, London, 1769]

Note: Smyth's definition of “Call” is a clone of this volume.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 May 19 - 10:40 PM

“The Royal Navy banned singing during work—it was thought the noise would make it harder for the crew to hear commands—though capstan work was accompanied by the bosun's pipe, or else by fife and drum or fiddle. A writer from the 1830s made this clear:...” [Sea Shanty wiki. Based on three sources.]

“On board a well-disciplined man-of-war, no person except the officers is allowed to speak during the performance of the various evolutions. When a great many men are employed together, a fifer or a fiddler usually plays some of their favourite tunes; and it is quite delightful to see the glee with which Jack will “stamp and go,” keeping exact time to “Jack's the lad,” or the “College Hornpipe.” On board a revenue cruiser, for want of music, it is customary for one of the men to give them a song, which makes the crew unite their strength, and pull together. The following is a specimen of this species of composition: [Cheer'ly O! lyrics]

For time out of mind this song has been attached to revenue cutters, and sometimes the burden is not celebrated for its decency.”
[A Cruise of a Revenue Cutter, The United Service Journal, pt. 1., (London: Henry Colburn, 1834, pp. 68-69)]


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 May 19 - 10:44 PM

“The sailor does not lack for singing. He sings at certain parts of his work;—indeed, he must sing, if he would work. On vessels of war, the drum and fife or boatswain's whistle furnish the necessary movement regulator. There, where the strength of one or two hundred men can be applied to one and the same effort, the labor is not intermittent, but continuous. The men form on either side of the rope to be hauled, and walk away with it like fire men marching with their engine. When the headmost pair bring up at the stern or bow, they part, and the two streams flow back to the starting-point, outside the following files. Thus in this perpetual "follow-my-leader" way the work is done, with more precision and steadiness than in the merchant-service.”
[Lowell, James Russell, ed., Songs of the Sea, The Atlantic Monthly, vol. II, (Boston: Phillips, Sampson and Co., 1858, p.153)]

Anybody own a copy of: The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649–1815? “The Royal Navy banned singing during work...,” isn't supported by the two online wiki sources.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 02 May 19 - 02:22 AM

Phil do you usually quote so much out of context? Or are you deliberately trying to mislead?

The Atlantic Monthly, vol. II, Article "Songs of the Sea"

Here is the FULL paragraph:

The sailor does not lack for singing. He sings at certain parts of his work;--indeed, he must sing, if he would work. On vessels of war, the drum and fife or boatswain's whistle furnish the necessary movement-regulator. There, where the strength of one or two hundred men can be applied to one and the same effort, the labor is not intermittent, but continuous. The men form on either side of the rope to be hauled, and walk away with it like firemen marching with their engine. When the headmost pair bring up at the stern or bow, they part, and the two streams flow back to the starting-point, outside the following files. Thus in this perpetual "follow-my-leader" way the work is done, with more precision and steadiness than in the merchant-service. Merchant-men are invariably manned with the least possible number, and often go to sea shorthanded, even according to the parsimonious calculations of their owners. The only way the heavier work can be done at all is by each man doing his utmost at the same moment. This is regulated by the song. And here is the true singing of the deep sea. It is not recreation; it is an essential part of the work. It mastheads the topsail-yards, on making sail; it starts the anchor from the domestic or foreign mud; it "rides down the main tack with a will"; it breaks out and takes on board cargo; it keeps the pumps (the ship's,--not the sailor's) going. A good voice and a new and stirring chorus are worth an extra man. And there is plenty of need of both.

So here YOUR source is differentiating between how seamanship evolutions are performed on Men-of-war and Merchant vessels. In the former [Warship] they rely on "the drum and fife or boatswain's whistle furnish the necessary movement-regulator", whereas on a latter [Merchantman] he states "The only way the heavier work can be done at all is by each man doing his utmost at the same moment. This is regulated by the song". So plainly, Chicago like simple if you prefer,when stating that The sailor does not lack for singing. he is referring to the Merchant sailor.

No mathematics required.

Bugle does not equate to Trumpet it equates to a Baroque Trumpet (Qualified) or a Trumpet Natural (Qualified).

Blue Light Officer and Light Blue Officer are NOT the same thing.

Shanty's were not used in the Royal Navy to work the ship, your own quoted sources tell you that as plainly as it is possible to tell. Were there more men on a man o'war to perform the work than there were on merchantmen - YES there were. Were men o'war sailed more efficiently because of that difference in crew sizes than merchantmen - YES they were. These points have been made repeatedly throughout this thread.

I can list hundreds of shanty's the origins of which clearly indicate their merchant navy origins. I cannot name one single shanty (working song) that indicates Royal Navy origins.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:20 AM

Neither wiki citation, short or long, bans singing in the Royal Navy. Smyth specifically uses the word "song" when a fife "tune" is not played. Simple question: Who decided these are not "shanties" and where can I read up on that?

Is/was there something in Queens Regs banning them? Was there ever really a published, written standard for shanties or singing of any kind in any navy or shipping line anywhere?

What I'm reading is the same old "everybody knows" and "it's obvious" covers for folk legend and invented tradition.

Alternate: Command and control needs increase with the size of the system. Managers of larger crews, navy and merchant, would be more inclined and better staffed and equipped to seek the advantage of music. But that's all modern speculation-v-speculation, not history.

If you think Smyth should have included bugle and/or left out and/or modified/qualified trumpet... go and dig him up and give him a stern talking to. Not my word choice or definition.

fwiw: Blue Light's didn't care for "low" or "crude" songs... like some minstrelsy & shanty lyrics. If "light blue" helps with why an instrumental fife tune is not a shanty then please do explain otherwise let's never mind.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:57 AM

"On board a revenue cruiser, for want of music, it is customary for one of the men to give them a song, which makes the crew unite their strength, and pull together."

Point of order - This would be the Yank's Coast Guard. ie: Not U.S. Navy unless there's a war on. Is revenue Royal Navy proper or...?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 02 May 19 - 07:17 AM

Most normal people from Earth can tell the difference between a cat and a pig, without getting distracted by the fact that both happen to have four legs.

Aliens from the Alpha Centauri on the first visit to our planet, on the other hand, can be forgiven for mixing up the two. We will gently explain that many Earth lifeforms have four legs, and that we find it more significant and helpful to distinguish the Meow-meows and the Oink-oinks, so please, dude, quit insisting that the mud-wallowing fatty that we sacrifice for breakfast is a "cat."

But when the Centaurians start calling us humans "half-cats" based on our two legs, it's time to deport them out of the Milky Way.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 May 19 - 10:58 AM

No matter how many legs, all us meaty species could be a protein source for them...

As much as we might argue distinction details, the aliens will just go "Yum.. nom.. nom.. nom.."...


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Lighter
Date: 02 May 19 - 12:19 PM

James Russell Lowell, of course, was a prominent American poet of the day, and his essay refers to "Boston."

So it may well be that he was thinking of vessels of the U.S. Navy.

Of course, at its origin, the U.S. Navy naturally borrowed many practices from the RN.

Anyway, much of this thread misses the point. If RN seamen were allowed to sing at work in a rare emergencys, it doesn't alter the fact that the record is otherwise evidently *unanimous* that they were not permitted to sing chanteys at work.

If I find a proverbial black swan, it doesn't prove that all, or most, or a significant number of swans in the Northern Hemisphere are black.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 May 19 - 12:43 PM

Lighter - if only that was true..
I found a black tufted squirrel in the Czech Republic,
but the only ones we ever see round here are the Grey American invaders...

Though, in reality, wishful thinking and re-enactments of imagined folk traditions
can go hand in hand...


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 May 19 - 01:31 PM

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Was singing as mandatory in the merchant fleet as it supposedly was banned in the Royal Navy?

What was an instrumental fife or fiddle capstan cadence called in the merchant fleet? Was it also considered a shanty? I've never read anything to suggest otherwise.

If the merchant's instrumental is a shanty why then does it cease to be a shanty when done just like that in the Royal Navy?

Most of the planet doesn't do English as alchemy. It's just another language to sing in, or not.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 May 19 - 02:04 PM

I have it at:

2 black swans singing
1 black swan not singing
0 black swans banning

It seems we're moving away from a hard ban to something more situational but everybody is still black & swan at present.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:24 PM

Okay, we're pretty certain that the chanty as we know it didn't exist aboard ships prior to 1830 (allowing for one or two very rare exceptions). Even then it took some time to evolve from its origins in the gulf ports and spread into the Atlantic trade and then into the Pacific (We have very little evidence if any that in the early days they were known elsewhere although by the 1850s they were being used on merchant ships around the world more usually on the longer distance runs such as to Australia. The North Sea trade and the Baltic have very little evidence of chanty usage, although north European seamen were always familiar with it, largely those who made up crews on the longer runs. By 1830, well after the Napoleonic Wars, the RN systems for work aboard were very well established and as others have stated there was no need at all for chanties. However on the smaller coastal vessels like the revenue cutters where many of the crews were ex merchantmen it is hard to imagine them not occasionally utilising this resource.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 02 May 19 - 09:48 PM

Tried posting this earlier.

Well it would appear that in a thread about Chanteys in Royal Navy it is absolutely imperative that we hear about said Chanteys being sung by everybody else and that just because they may or may not have been sung in the US Navy, Coast Guard or Merchant Service then they MUST have been sung in the Royal Navy - load of complete and utter bollocks.

To paraphrase from something quoted from a earlier post:

Naval vessels had far larger crews which meant that work could involve many men and the effort was continuous. Merchant vessels with far smaller crews had to do the same work as staged work with frequent breaks. The former therefore did not require the use of "Chanteys" whereas the latter DID. So much for - "Managers of larger crews, navy and merchant, would be more inclined and better staffed and equipped to seek the advantage of music." - Why? In the same piece quoted it clearly stated that work on warships was performed more efficiently - note this is not speculation as one indicator of this is the comparison of losses at sea, many more merchant ships foundered and were wrecked than men o'war. Loads and loads of merchant navy sea shantys - as opposed to NO Royal Navy sea shantys - If that does not tell YOU anything it certainly does me.

Royal Navy requiring music to perform require evolutions at sea - I can just see it HMS Victory and HMS Royal Sovereign approaching the larger combined Fleets of France and Spain then just at the vital moment the cry goes up "Hold on a minute the fiddle isn't quite in tune" - bloody ridiculous notion.

Managers of larger crews? How many mudcatters who have spent any time at sea ever worked under a Manager on a ship, or sorry should that be fhip?

Revenue Cutters were manned by Excisemen of the "Waterguard" and were not part of the Royal Navy in war or in peace. For a period in the 19th Century they were named the Coast Guard under the control of the Admiralty but not part of the Royal Navy.

Question asked very early on about "landed guns" - These would be the two 4.7" guns and four 12 Pounder Guns that formed the secondary armament of warships HMS Terrible and HMS Powerful down in South Africa in 1899 at the time of the Boer War. The Army was short of artillery so these guns were stripped out of their ships and mounted on makeshift gun carriages and hauled by sailors. These guns were used to relieve the town of Ladysmith - No "stepping", no tunes, no singing, just "Jack" doing what he had to to get the job done by loads of effort and bloody hard work. Watch a field gun run and see who on earth could spare one single breath to sing a note.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 03 May 19 - 02:14 PM

Observer: "Revenue Cutters were manned by Excisemen of the "Waterguard" and were not part of the Royal Navy in war or in peace. For a period in the 19th Century they were named the Coast Guard under the control of the Admiralty but not part of the Royal Navy.

The Yanks are close to that. Which is what I thought when I found this as a wiki footnote for the so-called Royal Navy shanty ban. One of three citations and I haven't read the the third yet.

That leaves exactly one (1) Royal Navy source at the mo: "On vessels of war, the drum and fife or boatswain's whistle furnish the necessary movement regulator." [Lowell]

No ban. Your interpretation is just fine as far as it went but what happens if a fife &c is not available? What little we do have says we revert to the less desirable but still acceptable a cappella for the duration.

Further, your extended analysis of the merchant paragraph of the citation is good except for the implication there were no professional musicians in the merchant fleet... just singing and nothing but singing.

Again, if instrumental shanties are permitted elsewhere why the unique genre tags for the Royal Navy?

Mouth singing falls somewhere between the two but it ain't "English." Instrumental song/tune or shanty or do we need yet another entirely arbitrary modern genre label?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:54 PM

In the larger context shanties, are the nautical work songs of White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant sailors and the popular culture they come from. Lyrics or just the melody doesn't really matter.

The songs won't appear in the document record without the sailors themselves. If the fleet was Catholic or Muslim there won't be any shanties but there will still be cadences and work songs millennia before and right through the golden age of the shanty.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:58 PM

Come on, Phil! You're having a laugh!


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 19 - 05:15 PM

The following song has no relevance to chantying per se or indeed to the RN but it does have some bearing on Jon's OP. It appears in the first edition 1823 of Fairburn's Everlasting Songster p87 (and also in The Universal Songster of 1825. It refers to the colliers, brigs of 2-300 tons that brought coal down from the north east of England to the Thames and south coast ports.

The Collier's Windlass

You may talk about singing Italian songs,
And hear them for me , for all that will,
I'd as soon change a fiddle for poker and tongs,
Drum and fife for the clack of a mill,
As the song opf our tars, as with ardour they burn,
The windlass to man, high and low,
The ponderous block seems to groan at each turn,
As they cheerily sing, yeo, ha' yeo.

While at Spithead we lay with a homeward bound fleet,
Awaiting the turn of the tide,
We bows'd up the Nancy, so rakish and neat,
You'd ha sworn she was Neptune's own bride;
Hark! the convcoy's has fir'd -- see her topsail loose,
Like the hen with her brood all in tow;
Ev'ry hand quits his birth, e'en the cook his cabouse,
For the glorious sing out, yeo, ha' yeo.

The waves in contention our ship seem'd to court,
She disdainfully left them behind;
Those numberless suitors she turned into sport,
Owning none but her favouring wind,
And when the sou'wester sprang up, d'ye see,
So well the lov'd gale did she know,
That Sunderland soon we had under our lee,
And stood up the harbour, yeo, ha' yeo.

The pier with our wives and our sweethearts is lined,
To greet us on jumping on shore,
Each blessing the gale as propitious and kind,
So soon their loved tars to restore;
Now my notion of songs you may call a wrong fancy,
But I will as plump say ye, no,
For the sing out that draws tears of joy from my Nancy's
The happy returning, yeo, ha' yeo.

I'll not comment till others have had chance to.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 03 May 19 - 09:19 PM

but what happens if a fife &c is not available? What little we do have says we revert to the less desirable but still acceptable a cappella for the duration.

EHmmm No it does not Phil, or if it does please show me where it says that. Fife & Drum - ONLY on larger men o'war that carried a full company of Marines - the Royal Navy itself NEVER had any bandsmen or musicians. They would always have bosuns and bosuns mates with bosun's pipes, the Royal Navy would never, ever have need to, as you put it - revert to the less desirable but still acceptable a cappella

Please tell me just WTF are " instrumental shanties".

Work on warships was continuous NOT staged the fifes and drums on larger ships, or fhipf if you prefer, 3rd rates and above were played not to work to but to lighten the monotony. The same work would have been done irrespective and it was on the smaller vessels in commission in the Royal Navy.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 May 19 - 01:59 PM

Dutch Navy c.1825:
“All except the top and forecastle men walked in well trained tactics to the music of the drum and fife around the capstan; and while the boat swain's mates piped loudly the signal to unfurl the sails,...”
[Pfeiffer, G.S.F., Dr., The Voyages and Five Years Captivity in Algiers, (Harrisburg: Winebrenner, 2nd German ed., Rupp, I.D. trans., 1836, p.5)]

Getting to be something of a cliche.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 May 19 - 02:01 PM

Pyrate Navy - Doesn't say what the musicians were doing but they were present on early 18th century European merchant vessels operating in the West Indies:

“Thus narrowly efcaped, they failed for Newfoundland, and arrived upon the Banks the latter end of June 1720. They entered the Harbour of Trepaffi with their black Colours flying, Drums beating, and Trumpets founding. There were two and twenty Veffels in the Harbour, which the Men all quitted upon the Sight of the Pyrate, and fled afhore.”

“The four firft of thefe Prifoners, it was evident to the Court, ferved as Mufick on Board the Pyrate, were forced lately from the feveral Merchant Ships they belonged to; and that they had, during this Confinement, an uneafy Life of it, having fometimes their Fiddles, and often their Heads broke, only for excufing themfelves, or faying they were tired, when any Fellow took it in his Head to demand a tune.”

James White, whofe Bufinefs was Mufick, and was on the Poop of the Pyrate Ship in Time of A?tion with the Swallow,...”
[Johnson, Capt. C., A General History of the Pyrates, 2nd ed, (London, 1724, pp.296, 302)]


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 May 19 - 02:07 PM

Speaking of Pyrates, the Conchy Royal Navy:

The Methodist Blue Lights did not share this thread's high opinion of Royal Navy crews. Many merchant sailors, world over, considered the RN a form of slavery. So much so it (impressment) was an issue in the Yank's 1776 Revolutionary War and was still a major sticking point for them three decades later in 1812.

Bahamians didn't care much for the service either at the time according to my family lore. The Royal Navy's Bermuda sloops &c were notoriously undermanned until the huge draw down at the close of the Napoleonic Wars.

From there to the advent of steam (c.1820-1850, Smyth's time in) it was a very different story indeed and more reflective of what one reads here. The idea that it was always so is the invented part of the shanty ban tradition.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 19 - 02:26 PM

After reading Phil d'Conch's latest offerings you cannot fault GUEST,Observers observations.

GUEST,Observer
Date: 02 May 19 - 09:48 PM

Well it would appear that in a thread about Chanteys in Royal Navy it is absolutely imperative that we hear about said Chanteys being sung by everybody else


In a thread about Chanteys in Royal Navy we have now been flung some info on the DUTCH NAVY and a PYRATE NAVY - I will save Observer the trouble and effort - Phil neither of those have anything to do with the Royal Navy and that being the case totally irrelevant.

Still GUEST,Phil d'Conch's blind faith in everything written back in the day being the gospel truth and factually accurate is quite touching. You can easily see today the amount of garbage in print on any given subject. If that is true today I dare say the same was true back in the 18th and 19th centuries.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 May 19 - 02:27 PM

Smyth, 1867 -
FIFER AND FIDLER. Two very important aids in eliciting exact discipline; for hoisting, warping, and heaving at the capstan in proper time; rated a second-class petty officer styled " musician," pay £30, 8s. per annum.

"SONG. The call of soundings by the leadsman in the channels. Songs are also used to aid the men in keeping time when pulling on a rope, where a fife is not available. They are very common in merchant ships. The whalers have an improvised song when cutting docks in the ice in Arctic seas.

Observer, 2019 -
"...the Royal Navy itself NEVER had any bandsmen or musicians. They would always have bosuns and bosuns mates with bosun's pipes, the Royal Navy would never, ever have need to, as you put it - revert to the less desirable but still acceptable a cappella"

IMNSHO Smyth's a neat all-in-one snapshot of on 1867 current practices. I prefer old sources to modern opinion. I'm just funny that way.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 May 19 - 02:59 PM

Re: Thread drift, again -

Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 03:49 AM

I asked in a less appropriate thread, and received no reply, "Did they sing shanties in the fighting navies of other nations than Britain?"

It's a courteous and reasonable question.

And the subject is "shanties" not "singing." Who in the Royal Navy ever said singing was banned? Who ever said shanties shall have English lyrics? What's the source there?

If there's a better thread for these questions, or it needs a new one, elves will be elves.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 04 May 19 - 05:09 PM

Phil,

I'm going to restate my basic position on this, for whatever it's worth.

Although I have seen some evidence for so-and-so not being allowed (I think the word "banned" is too strong, and misplaces the emphasis), I don't think that's the point.

And I'm sympathetic to the reasoning about chanties not being "needed." But I counter that with the reasoning that chanties have never been needed. When sailing ships are operated today, even with small crews, people don't use chanties (for instance).

Though this may seem like an exaggeration, it's to illustrate my point: You don't find many people dancing the polka in India. Yet, we don't assume that they must have polka there based on the idea that polka is dance music and surely Indians must dance. Polka simply isn't a part of the Indian culture. And even if we find some references to instances of polka being danced in India, that does not make it part of Indian culture.

Chanties weren't in the Royal Navy, so my logic goes, because they weren't. It's backwards to assume they would have been and then try to prove that they were or even to try too much to say why they weren't. I softened the latter ("try too much") because, ahem, I'm a reasonable person and I can understand the context of why it might be interesting to speculate.

The chanty genre is the product of a culture which, due to historical circumstances X, Y, and Z, found application in fields, on rivers, on wharves, and in merchant ships, where the people that share that culture lived it. (I define culture simply, after Thomas Turino, as habits of thought and practices shared among individuals.)

Now, if we equivocate and use the term "polka" to encompass some unhelpfully large set of things, say, "group dancing" then we'll see Rajasthani ghumar dance as "polka." But who wants to do that? Why? What function does it serve to caste such a wide net except to try to win some argument?

It's clear that we are working with different definitions of chanty.
I published an article exploring the term "chanty" (again, for whatever it's worth), where the goal was not primarily/simply to geek out on the *word*, but rather because the use of the word(s) is one piece of narrowing down what the thing is. We can see what things people called "chanty." Because people use words variably, that doesn't mean we have to accept as chanty everything that someone calls "chanty"—that's where historiography and analysis comes in. On the other side is to find things that are like what has been called (by most) "chanty" and identify other things that resemble that even if not called that in particular instances. Tracing the word is just a tool to get us closer to identifying the form of the thing, but once we get a handle on the form of the thing, we can compare forms directly (leaving aside labels and possible equivocation).

Schreffler, Gibb. 2017. "'The Execrable Term': A Contentious History of Chanty." American Speech 92.4: 429-458.
https://read.dukeupress.edu/american-speech/article-abstract/92/4/429/134095/The

Hey, maybe polka *is/was* a huge part of Indian culture, but we just don't know it and it will take some scholar to reveal this to us. The possibility of chanties in the Royal Navy does seem to me more likely than polka in India, and I don't think it's ridiculous at all to speculate on the former. However, all that I know so far -- which is not based on conventional wisdom and folklore -- suggest to *me* that one won't get much mileage out of the inquiry. Your mileage may vary.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 May 19 - 03:08 AM

Polka did pop up in unexpected places..

I like Polka, I also like Mariachi.. guess what...???


Polka Chanteys mash up.. hmmm...???

Probably already been done somewhere on the internet...


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 05 May 19 - 10:12 AM

Polka shanties might work on a Royal Navy ship with big crews - the sailors could never have danced away the tail of a rope on an undermanned merchant vessel.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 19 - 04:16 PM

Oh. you New York gals, can't you dance the polka?


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:01 PM

Gibb: Let me expand on that. One should expect the work song to match the workers what sing them. I have, howsomever, located one hard ban so far.

National University of San Marcos, Lima, Peru, 1551
Louisiana Purchase, c.1804
Shanties, c.1850

The Portuguese were not Protestant. They did not use English genre labels for their nautical work songs nor did they sing in English. They did not differentiate instrumental from vocal. Fifer = shantyman.

The Portuguese saloma is the direct descendant of the Greek keleusma. Etymology solved. Portuguese nautical work song traditions were firmly in place for at least two millennia prior to the founding of the National University and two centuries prior to the popular print media appearance of the English shanty on the Yank's Gulf Coast.

And banned they were in at least the post-Napoleonic, West Indian, Portuguese Fleet! Extrapolate to other oceans and Navies with caution.

SALOMA. He a cantiga, ou gritaria, que fazem os marinheiros , quando alão algum cabo, cujo salomear he prohibido nos nossos Navios de Guerra.”
[Campos, Mauricio Da Costa Campos, Vocabulario Marujo, (Rio De Janeiro, 1823, p.93)]

The RN never used shanties. Only a tiny minority of the world's mariners, late to the practice, ever used the tag. The RN used songs and tunes to keep in step; often without lyrics that weren't mandatory in the first place.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:08 PM

Yank Navy and not just any old thread drift:

“'All hands up anchor!'

When that order was given, how we sprang to the bars, and heaved round that capstan; every man a Goliath, every tendon a hawser!–round and round–round, round it spun like sphere keeping time with our feet to the time of the fifer, till the cable was straight up and down, and the ship with her nose in the water.

'Heave and pall! Unship your bars, and make sail!'”
[Melville, Herman, White Jacket, (New York: Grove, 1850, p.20)]
White-Jacket
USS United States (1797)


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:10 PM

Oooops. As if y'all couldn't guess, t'was I.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:31 PM

Enough, put this discussion to bed.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 May 19 - 08:41 PM

whistle while you work....


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 06 May 19 - 11:17 PM

The Portuguese tradition is joined at the hip with the Anglo-American under the tag "Western." English speaking Catholics used to call them celeusma too. Right straight through all this time the Scots did their irruma.

The Mudcat-Wiki-Hugill Anglo-American shanty went global as a fong, song, tune &c, with or without lyrics, long before 1840.

The real memories & traditions got lost when they fell into disuse and others invented to take their place. Not unusual in any subject.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 15 Jul 19 - 06:05 AM

French Navy. It's a long one and full of typos I'm sure. Lots of standard shanty party line plus some interesting bits:

LE CHANT ET LES MANŒUVRES
Dès lu plus haute antiquité on constate l'usage des chants et leur pouvoir sur les hommes appelés à déployer de la force avec ensemble. Le navire Argo éprouva quelque résistance dans son départ: mais Orphée soutient par ses chants les efforts des matelots qu'il encourage et bientôt le vaisseau prend les flots.

Servius dans son commentaire sur le VIIIe chant de l'Eneide, définit le celeusma: «clamor nauticus ad hortandum ut: Nunc, nunc incubite remis.» Un pussage de Lucien, la traversee fait aussi allusion à cette coutume:
— Charon. Rame done, je me contenterai de ce paiement.
— Cvniscus. Ne faut-il pas ausssi chanter une chanson de rameurs?
— Charon. Oui, par Jupiter, si tu en sais quelqu'une bonne pour les marins.

Tous les travaux de peine, toutes les manœuvres de force étaientf aites à bord — et cette habitude se conserva en France sur les navires de guerre jusque vers 1820, — au bruit d'un chant rhythmé ou d'un cri cadencé, auquel l'excitation du sifflet a fini par succéder.

Sur les bâtiments de commerce, où la force n'est pas toujours en proportion avec les résistances a vaincre, et où les exclamations encourageantes, les cris excitants, sont nécessaires dans la plupart des cas, on crie encore pour lever l'ancre : Allons, garçon, tire encore un coup, je la vois! Cette forme abrégée qui était employée dés le xvi siècle ainsi qu'on peut le voir dans la Complaint of Scotland, est restée longtemps dans la marine de guerre.

A bord des navires de commerce allemands, lever les ancres, hisser les voiles ou les canots, en général toute manœuvre qui exige un déploiement de forces et surtout d'efforts simultanés, se fait au bruit des chansons….. Ces chants de travail, comme on pourrait les appeler, ont tous la même mesure. Le chanteur entonne d'ahord une strophe, et tous reprennent un court refrain qui donne la cadence à laquelle tous les efforts doivent se réunir.

Aux Indes, les mariniers ne sauraient remuer une corde qu'en chantant, ni la prendre même qu'au milieu du chant.

Sur les pirogues de course du Cambodge se tient au milieu, debout sur les banes, un improvisateur, barbouillé de blanc ou peint de couleurs étránges. Il chante, Il déclame et accentue sou discours de contorsions burlesques. La fin de sa phrase, accompagnée d'un geste saccadé, est accueillie de tout l'équipage par un cri bref et sauvage qui mesure la cadence du mouvement des pagaies. Il célèbre les hauts faits de sa pirogue, raconte ses victoires passées, couvre ses concurrents de lazzis et de quolibets, entretient et ranime par ses saillies l'entrain des nageurs.

Dans les pirogues, les Néo-Zélandais règlent le mouvement de leurs pagaies sur un chant dont les paroles sont Tohi ha, Pahi hia, hia, ha, etotki, etoki, paroles qu'ils modulent de toutes sortes de façons.

Suivant un dicton de marins, cité par Dana, p.147, une chanson vaut dix hommes.

Il semble que les anciens Finnois avaient une répulsion pour les chants: On ne doit point chanter sur la mer, on ne doit point chanter au milieu des vagues: le chant engendre la paresse et arrête les bras des rameurs.”
[Review des Traditions Populaires, Vol.XV, 1900, pp.202-203]


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 05:58 PM

Batten down your glossaries:

“On board the Challenger*, during her scientific cruise round the world, we had many, both officers and men, who took an interest in musical matters. Although we had no chaplain, our church services were fairly creditable. We also got up some part-songs. We had a volunteer brass band of about twelve. The men composing it had no previous knowledge of music. They were taught by a man who was rated on the ship’s books as a “musician,” a man who is supposed to stand on the capstan and fiddle a tune to the men “to heave round” to. This man was certainly an instructor, if he was not a musician in the highest sense of the word.” [p.4]

“I will now venture to give you my opinion of what I consider generally the style of music suited to the requirements of the Royal Navy, parenthetically remarking that the relations between that service and the Mercantile Marine are becoming so close that whatever style of music is adopted by the former, the latter are sure to follow suit.” [p.7]

“Mr. HAVERGAL.— … Referring to the “forebitter,” the one you describe would almost seem to do as well. There is one kind of “ fore-bitter,” which I think is very much in vogue in the Merchant Service. I think it is called “Shanties,” or some such name. It is, however, totally distinct from the old man-of-warsman “fore-bitter.” The one I made allusion to was essentially one belonging to the Royal Navy at that time. I don’t think I know of any published “fore-bitter,” either in words or tune. There may, possibly,__be something approaching it, but it is almost impossible to write any music of that kind.” [p.12]
[Music in the Royal Navy, RMA Proceedings, Havergal, 1891]

*HMS Challenger was steam-assisted corvette, a sailing auxiliary.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 10:24 PM

GROAN, read the link related to the latest from Phil. and see how it compares to the title of this thread.

HMS Challenger - a steam Frigate - so she had steam driven capstans [No Capstan shanties required], Steam bilge pumps {No pumping shanties required[ - In short nothing more required by any "musician" on board than to "entertain" the crew.

No shanties required in the Royal Navy because of the following factors:

1. Useless to work the ship while in action stations, so why encourage the practice at all.
2. Crews of Royal Navy ships vastly outnumbered crews of merchant vessels [Composite Clipper had a crew of 34 men, a Royal Navy 74 carried a crew of 550 men], so more than enough hands available to satisfactorily complete any seaman-like evolution and fight the ship without the need for musical accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 02:49 AM

For a moment there I thought I might have posted the wrong link! I read it again, where do you get Challenger had steam driven capstans?

No shanties required in the Royal Navy because of the following factors..."
You might be right. I don't even know what a shanty is, goes double for the instrumentals.

However, none of what you write applies to nautical work song or proceleusmatics and that's what the sources are saying the Royal Navy, and pretty much every other fleet, used in some form or fashion.


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 02:52 AM

Another long one with some interesting detail:

“...fiddler and fifer all ready to strike up any favorite tune amongst the ship's company. The moment the end of each hawser enters the hawse-hole, away with it, strike up fiddler or fifer, and make a clear run fore and aft the deck until you get in the slack...” [p.65]

“By having the fiddler to play to the men while stoning the decks, I have invariably found that they have rubbed harder, and kept time to the music; this method will prevent that chit chat which you so often hear between the men while stoning the decks, their attention being quite taken up with their work and the music. It always struck me that the decks were better and sooner done in this manner, and the men in much better spirits.” [pp.74-75]

“Ships are frequently deficient of the music which Jack likes best—his favorite fiddle. We have often heard the sailors say, that it was no dance without a little cat-gut. If the seamen have such a liking for this instrument, would it not be desirable to have a rating for a fiddler on board of each of Her Majesty's ships having any stated number of men, with an allowance for a fiddle, and strings. This expense, a few years ago (I believe still) falls upon the senior lieutenant, or by subscription amongst the crew, therefore fiddle or no fiddle, according to fancy. The want of a good fiddler to a ship is a very great loss. A good fifer may do well, but the fife is not the favorite instrument with sailors ; neither can the fifer play so long ; and has many more excuses for not being able to play, such as sore lips, cold, weak chest, with many other et ceteras, which all those who have had these things to contend with, will know too well about. Look at the heavy work of catting and fishing anchors, hoisting topsails, &c. You could far better spare ten men in a full-manned large vessel, while doing this work, than the fiddler or fifer. Every one who has attended to the catting and fishing of an anchor, with or without music, must have remarked the spirited way in which an anchor is walked up with music, the men's feet keeping time beautifully to the tune. You have only to see the same anchor catted without music, to know the effect of the combination of force when applied, by keeping time to music.” [p.302-303]
[Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Liarden, 1849]


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 08:44 AM

I don't even know what a shanty is

Well these guys seem to Phil:


Try This


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: goatfell
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 09:20 AM

The drunken sailor


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: goatfell
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 09:20 AM

The drunken sailor


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Subject: RE: Chanteys in Royal Navy?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 05 Aug 19 - 01:07 PM

A couple of turn-of-the-century citations from the Naval Chronicle reflecting a greater awareness of the classics and Western culture than one generally finds today:

“The ?e?e?st?? or hortator remigium, is by some considered as the Boatswain; his duty was to repeat the orders to the rowers , and to distribute their allowance to the Ship's Company…. The last Officer whom we shall notice, though several other professional names occur in antient writers, was the >?<, or Musician, who endeavoured both by his voice and skill on whatever instrument he performed, to cheer the spirits of the Rowers:
        Acclivis malo mediis intersonat Orpheus
        Remigiis, tantos que jubet neocire labores.
                                        Statius, Theb. V. v. 343
        Against the mast the tuneful Orpheus stands,
        Plays to the weary'd rowers, and commands
        The thought of toil away.”
[Memoirs of Navigation and Commerce from the Earliest Period, The Naval Chronicle, Vol.II, 1799, pp.186-187]

“The modern Boatfwain is discovered in those duties which the Keleustes of the Greeks performed; he passed the word of command throughout the vessel, and also assisted in distributing the ship's allowance of provisions…. and the sprightly notes of the drum and fife, by which the labour of the capstan-bars is at present so much abated, was a delightful task assigned to the Grecian Trieraules, who stood before the mast, and cheered his weary shipmates with the exhilarating music of the Canaanites.

        Against the mast the tuneful Orpheus stands,
        Plays to the wearied rowers, and commands
        The thought of toil away:
                        Statius, Theb. V. v. 343”
[The Naval Chronicle, Vol.X, 1803, p.407]

Note: The scanned PDFs are a little fuzzy, mind the Latin and Greek transciptions.


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