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.                     xxix
the same type, namely, alternate soli and chorus, are at all times very erratic in metre and varied in theme, and almost always similar, and to be traced to the general music of the country to which they belong.
In one of the old volumes of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (vol. vii., April, 1820), there is an essay on song-writing, and the author, who signs himself D. T., includes some few remarks on sea-songs. He says : " Incledon and Dibdin did their best to make sea-songs popular, and for a while they succeeded. Dibdin, however, wanted judgment, for from his attempts to clothe grave thoughts in seaman's phraseology, good taste will always revolt. In one of his songs the resurrection is actually alluded to thusó
' When he hears the last whistle He'll come upon deck.'
To be serious, with vulgar slang, grave interest can never amalgamate. Divested of this, however, I do not see why the peculiar vicissitudes of a sailor's life might not give variety to the lyric music, or why the exploits of the Vikings, whether of good old Saxon or more modern times, are not as capable of tuneful commemoration as those of heroes upon dry land. Campbell's ' Battle of the Baltic' I have read a hundred times, but have never seen the music, if there is any, appended to it. ' Black-eyed Susan' and Glover's 'Admiral Hosier's Ghost' are, I think, hardly to be classed as sea-songs. The scenes, to be sure, are laid on board ship, but they embody no feelings or incident of any consequence which are peculiar-to a sea-life."
D. T. can scarcely have made much study of sea-songs in general, if he still labours under the delusion that the Vikings have not formed the subject of many a stirring

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