What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor?

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What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor? is a sea-shanty that was sung to help sailors in the 19th century complete their tasks effectively. Revived as a popular song among non-sailors in the 20th century, it became one of the best-known shanties among mainstream audiences. It has been performed and recorded by many musical artists.

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Ahoy, mates! Ye be sailin’ the 8 Cs on the piano? Avast, this Jolly-Roger piece for the musical ivories be just what yer seekin’! The words be talkin’ about a lily-livered mate who got a little too much into the rum barrel and now the rest of the crew be takin’ it on themselves to teach the scurvy sprog a deviluva lesson! There be changin’ of hand positions and playin’ faster ‘n’ faster. Ye’ll be havin’ a crowd gather when ye play this shanty, shiver me timbers!

Key: D Dorian

Mood: hearty, robust, jolly

Pedagogy: hand position changes, accelerando throughout

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