The sea has long been the subject of musical depiction. Whether it is the stormy seas of The Flying Dutchman overture, or the placid waters of Debussy's "En Bateau" from the Petite Suite, the liquidity of the sea and the ebb and flow of music are mutually reflective.
Bloch's portraits of the sea are of a more workaday nature. The sea depicted in the first and third movements, "Waves" and "At Sea" are gentle without being placid and energetic without being turbulent. The central movement "Chanty" is far removed form the kind of chanty exemplified by What shall we do with the drunken sailor? This is a reflective piece with a touching melody. Bloch also prepared an orchestral version of this work.