Sheet Music: Drunken Sailor

TitleDrunken Sailor
Alternate titlesWhat Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?
ComposerTraditional Irish
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyD minor
Time signature2/4
Tempo112 BPM
Performance time0:35
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (45 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (290 kB)
Date added2009-05-02
Last updated2009-05-02
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 3.0 (popular)
Celtic Music, Drinking songs, Marches, Sea shanties, Traditional/Folk


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Saturday 2 May 2009

Tune of the Day: Drunken Sailor

Traditional Irish sea shanty

Also known as “What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?”, this is one of the best known of all sea shanties. Such work songs were the only ones allowed in the Royal Navy, and were often sung when raising a sail or raising the anchor.

The melody of this song, which as you may notice is in dorian mode, was taken from a traditional Irish dance and march tune, “Oró Sé do Bheatha ’Bhaile” (translated as “Óró, you are welcome home”). Many versions of the song exist, and its modal melody has suffered many a change.