The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #169754   Message #4104045
Posted By: Howard Jones
30-Apr-21 - 06:09 AM
Thread Name: 'Shenandoah' rhythm/meter
Subject: RE: 'Shenandoah' rhythm/meter
Hugill described it as "one of the most popular of all capstan and windlass shanties". I can only conclude that it was sung in a way which suited that work.

The tune he said he used for all his versions (which is the "usual" tune) is marked "Rather slow with emphasis" and written in 3/4. Perhaps it was popular because it was slow!

He quotes Doerflinger who said it was an old cavalry song, Whall who attributed it to Canadian voyageurs, others say it came from the old mountain men, or from the river-boats. None of it very conclusive, but it was (and remains) such a well-known song that it is unsurprising that it ended up with deep-sea sailors and was put to use as a shanty.