Sheet Music: Il était un petit navire

TitleIl était un petit navire
Alternate titlesThere Was a Little Ship
ComposerTraditional French
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyG major
Time signature2/4
Tempo112 BPM
Performance time0:50
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (45 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (401 kB)
Date added2011-05-13
Last updated2011-05-13
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.6 (below average)
Nursery rhymes, Traditional/Folk


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Friday 13 May 2011

Tune of the Day: Il était un petit navire

Traditional French folk song

This traditional French song, whose title can be translated as “There Was a Little Ship”, is now considered a children's song, despite its macabre tone. The song tells the story of a young shipwrecked sailor who is about to be eaten by the other sailors. They discuss how to cook him, and what sauce to use. Happily, the young sailor is saved by a miracle when a number of small fishes jump into the “little ship”.

The song might refer to the 1816 wreck of the French frigate Méduse, the most infamous shipwreck of the 19th Century. It can notably be heard in Jean Renoir's 1937 film Grand Illusion.