The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4257   Message #2837222
Posted By: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
12-Feb-10 - 12:14 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Shenandoah
Subject: RE: Origin: Shenandoah
Anything that lasts this long and is so pervasive in the musical repertoire must contain very special qualities. "Shenandoah" seems a great example of the "folk process." Its roots may be lost in obscurity; perhaps originally an adaptation using the melody of a familiar nautical song. It has been "gentrified" with strings and choruses added, made into a theatrical and motion picture theme, played on a harmonica in numerous olf "B" westerns of the 1930's and '40's and sung around campfires ad nauseum.

Yet, though many verses and variants have undoubtedly been added, it remains a stalwart part of the folk song book and is still much loved. The melody is the key, at least to me. It speaks lyrically of longing and lonliness and could, even without words, convey those feelings.