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"The Whale," Lyrics, Text Format
"The Whale," Lyrics, Text Format

Intermediate syncopation, tonic arpeggio,
and changing rhythms to match lyric syllables.



  • Grade: Fourth
  • Origin: Whaling Song
  • Key: G Major
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: through composed
  • Rhythm: intermediate: | ta/ ti ti ti ti ti | syncopation, | ta ta ta ti ti | ta ta ti ti ti ti |
    | ta/a/a ti ti | ti ti ti ti ta ti/ ri | syncopation,
    | ta ta ta ti/ ri | syncopation, | ti ti ta ti ti ta |
  • Pitches: intermediate: So La Ti Do Re Mi Fa So
  • Intervals: intermediate: So/Do (P4), Mi/So8(m3), Do/Mi/So ascending tonic (I) arpeggio (G), Fa\Re (m3), Re\So (P5)
  • Musical Elements: notes: dotted half, dotted quarter, quarter, dotted eighth, eighth; pickup beat, tonic arpeggio, vocal slurs
  • Key Words: USA history, whaling song, sea song, world geography: Greenland; world history 1853, gallant, ship, anchor, weighed, bore, brave, lookout, crosstrees, stood, spy glass, telescope, whale blow, span, captain, stood, quarterdeck, overhaul, davit tackles, launch boats, aboard, full view, resolved, seaman, steer, blew, struck, paid out, flourish, tail, capsized, drowned, caught, grieves, heart, full score, dreadful, place, daylight, seldom; earth science – Greenland is not green; contractions: that’s (that is)

“The Whale”
also known as:
“Greenland Whale Fisheries”

1. ‘Twas in eighteen hundred and fifty-three
And of June the thirteenth day
That our gallant ship her anchor weighed,
And for Greenland bore away, brave boys,
And for Greenland bore away.
The lookout in the crosstrees stood
With his spy glass in his hand;
“There’s a whale, there’s a whale, there’s a whale fish!” he cried.
“And she blows at every span, brave boys,
She blows at every span!”
3. And the captain stood on the quarterdeck,
And a fine little man was he;
“Overhaul, overhaul! Let your davit tackles fall,
And launch your boats for sea, brave boys,
And launch your boats for sea!”
4. Now the boats were launched and the men aboard,
And the whale was in full view;
Resolved was each seaman bold
To steer where the whale fishes blew, brave boys,
To steer where the whale fishes blew!
5. We struck that whale and the line paid out,
But she gave a flourish with her tail;
And the boat capsized and four men were drowned,
And we never caught that whale, brave boys,
And we never caught that whale!
6. “To lose the whale,” our captain cried,
“It grieves my heart full sore!
But, oh to lose four gallant men
It grieves me ten times more, brave boys,
It grieves me four times more!”
7. Oh, Greenland is a dreadful place,
A land that’s never green;
Where there’s ice and snow, and the whale fishes blow
And the daylight’s seldom ever seen, brave boys,
And the daylight’s seldom ever seen.
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"The Whale," Music Format
Click to enlarge: "The Whale," Beats Format
Click to Enlarge: "The Whale," Rhythm Format
pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "The Whale," Pitch Number Format
Click to Enlarge: "The Whale," Solfeggio Format
letter names
Click to Enlarge: "" Letter Names Format