Sea Songs


William Copper

Chorus SATB, a cappella

Four sea songs for mixed chorus a cappella. For more information please click on the individual songs below.

Sea Fever fulfills many of the National Standards for Music Education, without losing a sense of music as pure art form. In particular, Sea Fever is a setting of the entire original version of Masefield's poem, and singing it may help a student observe how the words themselves have a rhythm and a music, and how a composer may follow or challenge the poem's music in vocal music. Sea Fever, first published in 1902, also has historical interest. It was written when the days of tall ships were fading memories, and captures the fascination with the sea and sailing that was part of those days.

Full texts and links to online review copies on the right side of the pages below.

Sea Fever by John Masefield (British, 1878-1967)
Score Sample (pdf format)
Sea Fever Sample (GIF) More information including ranges and description.
Full Perusal Score (gif format)

1. I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
   And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by,
   And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
     And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking. 

2. I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
   Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
   And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
     And the flung spray and the blown spume and the sea gulls crying.

3. I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gipsy life,
   To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife,
   And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover,
     And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over. 

Sea Love by Charlotte Mew (British, 1879-1928)
Score Sample (pdf format)
Sea Love Sample (GIF) Full Perusal Score (gif format)

1. Tide be runnin' the great world over:
          'Twas only last June month I mind that we
   Was thinkin' the toss and the call in the breast of the lover
          So everlastin' as the sea.

2. Here's the same little fishes that sputter and swim,
          Wi' the moon's old glim on the grey, wet sand;
   An' him no more to me nor me to him
          Than the wind goin' over my hand. 

    Charlotte Mew (British, 1879-1928)

Water, Water Everywhere by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (British, 1772-1834)
Score Sample (pdf format)
Water, Water Everywhere Sample (GIF) Full Perusal Score (gif format)

     Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.  

1. All in a hot and copper sky,
     The bloody sun at noon
   Right up above the mast did stand,
     No bigger than the moon.  

2. Day after day, day after day, 
     We stuck, nor breath, nor motion.
   Idle as a painted ship, 
     Upon a painted ocean

3. Water, water everywhere,
     And all the boards did shrink.
   Water, water everywhere,
     Nor any drop to drink.

       from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
                              by Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea by Allan Cunningham (Scottish, 1784-1842)
Score Sample (pdf format) A Wet Sheet Sample (GIF) Full Perusal Score (gif format)

1.  A wet sheet and a flowing sea, 
      A wind that follows fast,
    And fills the white and rustling sail,
      And bends the gallant mast,
    And bends the gallant mast, my boys!
          While like an eagle free,
          Away the good ship flies, and leaves Columbia on our lee.

2.  Oh, for a soft and gentle wind,
    I heard a fair one cry,
    But give to me the roaring breeze,
    And the white waves heaving high;
    And white waves heaving high, my boys!
          The good ship tight and free;
          The world of waters is our home, and merry men are we.

3.  There's a tempest in yon horned moon,
    And lightning in yon cloud,
    And hard the music, mariners,
    The wind is piping loud;
    The wind is piping loud, my boys!
          The lightning flashes free,
          The hollow oak our palace is, our heritage the sea.

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Copyright 2002-2014 William P. Copper

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