MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Shanties

Photo from the Leach collection, P1070

Shanties are sailor's work songs, the rhythm of which serves to coordinate group actions such as hauling lines, or turning a capstan.   Vocables such as "Ho" or "heave ho" mark the action of hauling lines. Capstan shanties, on the other hand, set a stable rhythm and often have a refrain. In Leach's collection there are few shanties. The song "Regatta" may have been used to coordinate the rhythm of rowers.

photo: Leach Collection P1070.