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Chanteys in Royal Navy?

GUEST,Phil d'Conch 05 Aug 19 - 01:07 PM
goatfell 04 Aug 19 - 09:20 AM
goatfell 04 Aug 19 - 09:20 AM
GUEST 04 Aug 19 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Aug 19 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Aug 19 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Observer 03 Aug 19 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 Aug 19 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 15 Jul 19 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 May 19 - 11:17 PM
punkfolkrocker 06 May 19 - 08:41 PM
GUEST 06 May 19 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 May 19 - 07:10 PM
GUEST 06 May 19 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 May 19 - 07:01 PM
Steve Gardham 06 May 19 - 04:16 PM
Ged Fox 05 May 19 - 10:12 AM
punkfolkrocker 05 May 19 - 03:08 AM
Gibb Sahib 04 May 19 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:27 PM
GUEST 04 May 19 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 May 19 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Observer 03 May 19 - 09:19 PM
Steve Gardham 03 May 19 - 05:15 PM
Steve Gardham 03 May 19 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 May 19 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 May 19 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Observer 02 May 19 - 09:48 PM
Steve Gardham 02 May 19 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 01:31 PM
punkfolkrocker 02 May 19 - 12:43 PM
Lighter 02 May 19 - 12:19 PM
punkfolkrocker 02 May 19 - 10:58 AM
Gibb Sahib 02 May 19 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 May 19 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Observer 02 May 19 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,Observer 01 May 19 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 May 19 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Observer 30 Apr 19 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Apr 19 - 06:56 PM
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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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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
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: 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,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,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: 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,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: 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: punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 May 19 - 08:41 PM

whistle while you work....


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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: 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 - 07:08 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 - 07:01 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
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 - 02:07 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,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 - 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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,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 - 10:38 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 - 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 - 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,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 - 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: 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: 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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