Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Drunken Sailor

This is an engaging dance to a tune with which most students will be familiar. Sometimes students ask me if this is appropriate for elementary school and I think it is. Drunkenness was a real problem amongst sailors in years past because a drunk sailor couldn't fulfill his work duties. So, drunk sailors were punished. For some students, a drunk parent or relative might pose equal or greater problems. I teach the students the basic dance and then have them make up new verses and new dance patterns.

A piano accompaniment is easy to add: D minor four counts, C major four counts, D minor four counts, C major two counts, D minor two counts. Left hand alternates D and A on D minor and C and G on C major--boom, boom, boom, boom. Right hand does the open fifths/fourth--d, a, d in D minor and c, g, c in C major--chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck. On the last "up she rises" take everything up stepwise (parallel motion) four eighth notes, then three quarter notes coming back to D "earlye in the morning."

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