This sequence is based on the melody from the British Naval song, Spanish Ladies.
With origins somewhere between 1650-1750, this British Naval song predates the Sea Shanties (merchant songs) of the mid 1800s. The lyrics tell a story about British sailors leaving Spain on orders from old England, and the journey they take up the channel.
Check out this rousing rendition by Jerry Bryant and Starboard Mess:
This music fires me up every time I listen to it. There is something almost primal about the rhythm, melody, and structure. Although this isn’t technically a Sea Shantie, the shantie singing merchant sailors picked up the song and breathed new life into it.
I love how a lone singer starts the tune and is later joined by the whole crew. Conjuring up images of sailors working together, using songs to simultaneously synchronize their movements and lift their spirits.
Like all traditional songs, there are loads of variations and interpretations depending on who is singing. There are renditions in both major and minor keys, slight alterations in the melody, and even little changes in the lyrics to fit the sailing destination.
One great example is from the movie Jaws, when Quint sings about sailing from England to Boston. Same song, with a Quint twist.
Sing this song out boldly, like you are rallying your fellow sailors. Use the pickup notes to launch you into each phrase and be sure to maintain your intensity all the way to the end. Feel free to add ornaments if you are feeling frisky!
This sequence will help you improve your sound, articulation, and minor scales.
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