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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MPAL Exhibits 2020-2021: Sea Shanties

Documents exhibits at the Music and Performing Arts Library during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Find More Related Materials:

Below are links to related subject searches in the UIUC Library Catalog. Some results are physical items in MPAL and are only available by request.

Sea Shanties Playlists

About This Exhibit

Sea songs (or sea shanties) have been around nearly as long as the earliest days of sailing.  A sea shanty is a work song with a rhythm used to coordinate the shipmates' shared manual labor.  Sea shanties were often sung during the most strenuous jobs, such as pushing on the capstan bars, hauling ropes or loading cargo by hand.

This exhibit contains the most common types of sea shanties (capstan, short haul and long haul), plus shanties from around the world.  It also includes a few nautical-themed songs worthy of an old salt chorus.

Sea Shanties


Diemer, Michael Zemo. (1867-1939)  "Men O' War Passing On The Open Sea".

Selected Items

Physical items will be available when MPAL reopens.  Online items are available for immediate access.