Shenandoah (arr Sheldon)

From Wind Repertory Project
Robert Sheldon

Traditional (arr. Robert Sheldon)

General Info

Year: 2003
Duration: c. 2:30
Difficulty: II (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $48.00   |   Score Only - $6.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Wind Chimes


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Oh Shenandoah (also called simply Shenandoah, or Across the Wide Missouri) is a traditional American folk song of uncertain origin, dating at least to the early 19th century. The song had become popular as a sea chanty with sailors by the 1880s.

Shenandoah was printed as part of Capt. Robert Chamblet Adams's article Sailors' Songs in the April 1876 issue of The New Dominion Monthly. It was later printed as part of William L. Alden's article Sailor Songs in the July 1882 issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine.

Ike Skelton, the U.S. congressman for Missouri, noted in 2005 that local artist George Caleb Bingham immortalized the jolly flatboatmen who plied the Missouri River in the early 19th century; these same flatboatmen were known for their chanties, including the lovely Oh Shenandoah. This boatmen's song found its way down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to the American clipper ships, and thus around the world.

Sea Songs and Shanties, Collected by W.B. Whall, Master Mariner (First edition in Nov 1910), states that the song probably originated from American or Canadian "voyageurs", who were great singers. Thomas Moore drew inspiration from them in his Canadian Boat Song. The author further states that he heard it sung over fifty years prior to publishing the book, which place its origin at least a fair bit earlier than 1860. Besides sung at sea, this song figured in old public school collections.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

The Shenandoah Valley and the Shenandoah River are located in Virginia. There is disagreement among historians concerning the origins of their names. Some claim that the river and valley were named in the 1750s by the Cherokee as a friendly tribute to a visiting Iroquois Chief named Skenandoah. Others suggest that the region was named not by the Cherokee, but by the Senedo Indians of the Virginia Valley. In the Senedo tradition, Shenandoah means “daughter of the moon”, and bears no relation to the Iroquois Chief Skenandoah.

The origins of the folk song are equally obscure, but all date to the 19th century. It has been attributed variously to a coal miner in Pennsylvania, a young protégé of Stephen Foster, and to a housewife in Lexington, Kentucky. Many variants on the melody and text have been handed down through the years, the most popular telling the story of an early settler’s love for a Native American woman.

- Program Note from State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band concert program, 17 November 2016


State Ratings

  • Georgia: II
  • Mississippi: III-A
  • West Virginia: III


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