Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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Introduction.
XIX
wheresoever he can manage to hold it between his lips, a fairly appreciative audience round the galley fire or at the fo'c'sle head, and a song to enliven his labour when on the briny ocean, our blue-jacket is tolerably happy, and it is of this latter I am purposing to make a short study—for that sailors' songs are worth studying I am convinced, and from various points of view too. Musically they are most valu­able, as showing how much they are characteristic of their subject, vocationally, as proving the amount of impetus or encouragement needed by the singer in his work, and poetically, by making known the feelings which animate a sailor's breast with regard to his home, his wife, his captain, and indeed all that concerns him, often as an exponent of Jack's intense admiration for the noble and heroic acts of others. With regard to smoking, there is a curious story told of an old salt who when in port was very fond of a churchwarden. On being asked if he always smoked a long pipe ? he replied, " No; in harbours and in fine weather I smoke a long pipe ; in fresh weather I smoke a cutty, and when it blows a gale of wind I chew."
Not Dibdin's, not Barry Cornwall's, not Campbell's, not any of the Pirates' Serenades, or " I'm Afloats," which may be seen in music-shop windows, illustrated by lithographic vignettes of impossible ships in impracticable positions, and may be heard sung in comfortable drawing-rooms to the tinkling of pianos by romantic young ladies, or in still waters in sight of green fields by landsmen yachting—not any of these are the songs that come under the heading of " Chanties, or Working Songs of the Sea." The songs of the sailor are sung to the accompaniment of the thrilling shrouds, the booming double bass of the hollow topsails,
and the multitudinous chorus of ocean.
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