Thanks to many recent recordings "Wellerman" is now well-known in many countries, and more widely the tradition of the Sea Shanty. The origin of the Wellerman song itself is somewhat uncertain. It describes events relating to the whaling traditions in New Zealand in the middle of the 19th century, though whether it was sung on board as a sailors' work song is not certain. Edward Weller and his family were involved in managing a Whaling Station situated in what is now called Weller Bay, and the Wellerman seems to refer to this family business. Various versions of the lyrics have been sung, mostly to the same melody with slight variations. Neil Colquhoun discovered the song and published it in 1972 in a collection of New Zealand folk songs called "Song of a Young Country". It then appeared in the repertoire of several folk singers and groups, with the latest burst of familiarity resulting from recordings by "The Longest Johns" and "Nathan Evans". There have now been numerous cover versions and parodies of the song.
This instrumental version for piano has the melody in the right hand and basic chords in the left hand. The right hand part can also be played by a variety of different instruments (mid part), and we have included alternative parts an octave higher (high part) and lower (low part) which might be better depending on the range and clef used by your instrument. If you are using the melody to accompany singers, then note that different verses or lyrics might require certain notes to be repeated or not repeated so that you have the correct number of syllables. Download the sheet music, midi and mp3 files using the menu on the left. Or view/play the music below.
Here is a video of Wellerman (Sea Shanty):
The image below is the first page of the sheet music, and here you can download the full sheet music for Wellerman (Sea Shanty) in PDF format.