Printable Piano Music 
What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor- or GRUMPY Sailor!

I've re-done the lyrics for 3 of the versions on this page...  just one word is changed in verse one: "drunken" is now "grumpy."  

And in verse two, the grumpy sailor is thrown in the brig until he's "cheerful."  Now I can offer this great piece to younger kids without apologizing to their parents...

Scroll down the page for the free downloadable PDF links.

New lyrics - What Do You Do with a GRUMPY Sailor? for kids, on piano
Long version of

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

This free printable piano music might be your student's favorite for a long time!  

On this page are eight different arrangements of What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor (& Grumpy Sailor)... four of them are for young beginners.

What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor is a sea shanty: a sailors' song sung to the rhythm of their working. (Also known as shantey, chantey, or chanty.)

Like most songs of folk origin, you'll find many variants of it. This version is the one I know.

Below are 4 variations of an easy Middle C arrangement, 3 with a bit of harmony.  First, a basic Middle C arrangement:

Easiest arrangement of What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Next, a harmonized "Grumpy Sailor" song.

What Do You Do With a GRUMPY Sailor

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

And now the usual lyrics, plus some lettered notes:

Easy arrangement of What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor with a simple harmony

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

The same harmonized Middle C arrangement, without the lettered notes:

Middle C harmonized What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Below is the late elementary long version with the usual lyrics, full of sound and fury.  

The surging energy created by the LH of this easy piano sheet music keeps it driving till the very end.

Free printable piano music What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor,

Lots of repetition - but be careful of the fingering

The LH is easy open chords, the same pattern every verse.

The RH, too, is almost unchanging from verse to verse, but each repetition has a bit of a twist, or a register change that gives it a fresh feeling.

I have found that the fingering needs to be insisted on from the very first (especially with aural learners).

Turn practice into a game

A good way to make sure this happens is to set a goal for them: by next week, be able to play the melody of part 1 --no LH-- with their eyes closed!

As soon as I announce this challenge, they try to accomplish it right then -- and some do it!

This goal is much more fun to work at than "Have this memorized by next lesson," and it also improves their tactile relationship with the melody.

What Will We Do With The Drunken Sailor

Dynamics change for contrast

On repetition 3, both hands jump up high. This is a good opportunity for contrast -- a pianissimo moment in the midst of all the commotion!

A new skill - Right hand crosses over the left hand

On page 2, the RH crosses over the LH down to the bass clef -- I hope that's clear enough in the music. 

The LH stays just where it was, but appears temporarily in the top staff. Then at the last repetition, the hands must fly apart quickly as RH goes right again, and LH drops deep into the bass.

A version with no change in left hand

Now here is an easier version of Drunken Sailor & Grumpy Sailor with fewer chord changes:

Easy piano song What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor

The links to Grumpy Sailor:

Download late elementary long arrangement of "GRUMPY Sailor" song

Download What Do You Do with a GRUMPY SAILOR easy Middle C version with a bit of harmony

Download easiest Middle C version of Drunken Sailor sea chanty with NO HARMONY

Download easy Middle C version of What Do You Do with a DRUNKEN Sailor with left hand harmony and lettered notes

Download Middle C harmony arrangement of Drunken Sailor with NO helper notes

The links for What Do You Do with a DRUNKEN Sailor,  elementary piano arrangements:

Printable piano music for long arrangement What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor 

Easy short arrangement Drunken Sailor free printable sheet music 

The link for the same arrangement, with the politer words:

Download easy GRUMPY Sailor music

I did not include all the lyrics for this printable piano music. 

If you watch the Irish Rovers' Youtube video of What Will We Do with a Drunken Sailor, you can see that some of the lyrics are the kind of words you might not want to be explaining to your small music students!

The speed will come

Remember what I said about the energy driving this piece?

Once the hand coordination is developed in this sea shanty, your students will be flying along... and the pounding might become a bit of an issue for their parents!

Then it will be time to talk about refinement and musicality, if you haven't already.

This song is VERY fun.

Recent Articles

  1. Queen Esther in the Bible: The Dramatic Story in Song

    "Esther-For Such a Time as This" is music re-telling the riveting story from the Bible of an attempted genocide long ago & how a young queen saved her people.

    Read More

  2. The Spanish Lady, Free Vocal Sheet Music and Guitar Tabs from Ireland

    The Spanish Lady is a fun, pretty, and fast-moving song from Ireland. NOW with EASY beginner piano version & duet secondo, plus fiddle & guitar tabs!

    Read More

  3. Celtic Music: Listen & Download Gaelic Song and Music

    Celtic music - listen and download this beautiful Gaelic music for piano. NOW with an EASY-TO-READ lead sheet with chords for your students to improvise with.

    Read More

  4. Free Guitar Tabs: Devil's Dream in Tablature and Standard Notation

    FREE guitar tabs, now with an EASY-to-read 2-page version. These arrangements include standard treble clef notation as well.

    Read More

  5. Download Piano Sheet Music Free for All the Pretty Little Horses

    Download piano sheet music "All the Pretty Little Horses", now as a lead sheet for budding chord players. Also with beginner arrangements & a duet secondo!

    Read More

  6. Free Printable Sheet Music for Piano Students: Irish Wedding

    Free printable sheet music "Irish Wedding". A SIMPLE, intuitive version for your 1st-year kids is the newest of the arrangements of this fun, pretty piece!

    Read More

Queen Esther in the Bible

This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This"  tells the riveting story of the attempted genocide of the Jews in ancient Persia, and the brave young queen who risked her life to change the king's mind and save her people.

This book is available as a digital download  from this site, and also from Amazon as a paperback.

Just the Black Keys, a piano song book for young beginners.

Just the Black Keys

This book is available as a digital download  from this site, and also from Amazon as a paperback!

This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.

And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!"  They will be spending more time at the piano.

The Adventures of Tonsta, Volume 1, is a book about a young boy travelling over mountains and fjords from village to village, encountering trolls and helping folk in distress.

The Adventures of Tonsta

A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls. 

The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.  

With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.

Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!

Available at Amazon

Music for Little Mozarts Discovery Book music book

Dannielle, Australia:
I was wondering if it was at all possible to gain permission from you to use some of the pieces of music on this website for my students performing at an Eisteddod in Australia? I have found this website most helpful to my teaching and the students seem to enjoy this music. Would you mind if they played some of these pieces in a public setting?
Hi, Dannielle, Absolutely you may use my pieces in public! Thanks for asking (but no need). Best wishes for a fun performance.

Organ music book for beginners

Kim in Washington:
My son is hooked...I've been introducing piano to my son on and off for a year or so, but he's not had much interest. Then I gave him "Monsters Everywhere". He loved playing it with the organ sound on our piano. He memorized it that week and I'm printing off the other Halloween songs to keep him going. I love the detailed instructions on teaching since he is my first student! Thanks so much.
That is so neat that your son has experienced the magic and mystery of music through this little song. That is so exciting to me! Thanks for writing, Kim!

Music for Little Mozarts Workbook for piano


Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!

Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Thank you from an adult learner! 
This is a great website and a wonderful contribution to the music community. I am a retired lady trying to read music. I just purchased a double strung …

Click here to write your own.

Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.

About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.