Shanties developed over the past few centuries on sailing ships where men supplied the majority of the vessels’ power. Sailors used the rhythmic songs to keep time while hoisting sails and anchors, but also for socializing and to alleviate boredom. Most shanties have a call-and-response nature to them, but there are several distinct styles that adhere to their original purpose.

One of the most famous shanties, What Will We Do With the Drunken Sailor, is known as a stamp-and-go. This was for large crews that would march along the deck of the ship while all pulling at the same line.

Following is a short-haul shanty, Way Haul Away, Joe, made for smaller crews to pull a line in short bursts with great force:

On the other side of the spectrum is a capstan shanty, made for pulling in an anchor. This requires a smoother action than hoisting a sail or pulling a line. With footage from Moby Dick, this is Santianna:

And last is Harry Belafonte singing Jamaica Farewell. Not a shanty, but it reminds me of my sailing adventure in the Caribbean. And I love it.