Over the Ocean Waves
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Song Tune, March, Waltz and Quadrille.
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Upload date
September 18, 2007
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MP3 0.5 MB, bitrate 128 kbps.
0:35 minutes
Words/music
Henry Russell © 1840s
Story behind the song
OVER THE OCEAN WAVES. AKA "Life On the Ocean Wave." LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVE, A. AKA ‑ "Ocean Waves." AKA and see "Over the Ocean Waves," "After the Ball is Over." English (originally), American; Song Tune, March, Waltz and Quadrille. USA; very widely known. C Major (): G Major (Begin). Standard tuning. One part (Begin): ABB. Composed by Henry Russell, with the title coming from the opening words to the song. The regimental march of the Royal Marines (Winstock, 1970). In southwestern Pennsylvania it was played as both a waltz and a quadrille, the first strain remaining the most intact (Bayard, 1981). Mark Wilson (liner notes to Rounder 0529) explains the term ‘quadrille’ was applied to 6/8 tunes in America, “although they can properly represent only fragments of a true, multi-parted quadrille. The specialized employment of the term ‘jig’ for a piece in 6/8 is of fairly recent vintage (although the term itself is ancient) and, in any case, the Midwestern ‘quadrilles’ are not phrased in conventional jig time.” The tune title appears in a list of traditional Ozark Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954. The melody was adapted as a ‘singing call’ for square dances, beginning “First two ladies/gents cross over,” widely known in the United States, which Paul Gifford dates to the 1880’s. Sources for notated versions: Bradley Grimshaw (northern N.Y., 1958), Harmon McCullough (Indiana County, Pa., 1959), Fred Miller & Glenn Gelnette (Jefferson County, Pa., 1949), Harry Waugh (elderly fiddler from Jefferson County, Pa., 1949) [Bayard]; Art Coss (Woodland Valley, Catskill Mtns., New York) [Cazden]; fiddler Dawson Girdwood (Perth, Ottawa Valley, Ontario) [Begin]. Adam, 1928; No. 30. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 637A‑C, pgs. 561‑562. Begin (Fiddle Music from the Ottawa Valley), 1985; No. 77, pg. 86. Cazden (Dances from Woodland), 1945; pg. 8. Cazden, 1955; pg. 32. Ford, 1940; pg. 33. Jarman, (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes), 1951; No. or pg. 9. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 1; pg. 28. Shaw (Cowboy Dances), 1943; pg. 380. Williamson (English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1976; pg. 68. Rounder 0529, Dwight Lamb – “Hell Agin the Barn Door” (2005. Appears as “Over the Ocean Waves Quadrille”). Learned by Dwight’s father, a fiddler named Clarence, from a friend, Bill Gray). See also listing at: Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources X:1 T:Life on the Ocean Wave T:Ocean Waves M:6/8 L:1/8 S:Shaw – Cowboy Dances (1943) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A,2D D2E|(F3 F2)F|G2F G2F|(E3 E3)|A,2E E2F|G3B3| ABA GFE|1 D6:|2 D3 z2 z|| |:A2A Afd|A2A Afd|c2c cBc|d2d dcB|A2A Afd|A2A Afd| c2c cBc|d6:| Wikipedia: A Life on the Ocean Wave is a song by Henry Russell and published in the 1840s. The song originated from the poet Epps Sargent - one day he and Russell were walking on The Battery in New York City watching the ships enter the harbour. This scene inspired Sargent to write a poem, which Russell then put to music. The song proceeded to become popular in both England and the United States. In 1882, the Deputy Adjutant General Royal Marines requested that the Bandmaster of each Royal Marine Division (Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham) submit an arrangement for a new regimental march for the corps, if possible based on a naval song. Kappey, the Bandmaster of the Chatham Division, submitted an arrangement of A Life on the Ocean Wave, with an eight bar trio from The Sea by Sigismund Neukomm, which was authorised for use as the regimental quick march of the Corps of Royal Marines in 1882. In the United States, it is the official march of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Lyrics
Performed here as an instrumental, but these are the original lyrics: A Life on the Ocean Wave, A home on the rolling deep, Where the scattered waters rave And the winds their revels keep A Life on the Ocean Wave, A home on the rolling deep, Where the scattered waters rave And the winds their revels keep Like an eagle caged I pine On this dull unchanging shore, Oh give me the flashing brine The spray and the tempest's roar Once more on the deck I stand Of my own swift gliding craft Set sail farewell to the land The gale follows fair abaft We shoot through the sparkling foam Like an ocean bird set free Like an ocean bird, our home We'll find far out on the sea The land is no longer in view The clouds have begun to frown but with a stout vessel and crew We'll say let the storm come down And the song of our hearts shall be While the wind and waters rave A life on the heaving sea A home on the bounding wave