Moerane's Shenandoah has a wonderfully varied texture, beginning TTBB, changing to SATB and then to SSATB during the course of which the melody moves from voice to voice. The original tune, ‘Shenandoah’, is an American folksong about Iraqois Chief Shenandoah from Virginia, the state whose major river is named after him. The song is known as a 'sea shanty', and Moerane found the source for his arrangement in Sailor Shanties by Richard Runciman Terry, published by Curwen in the 1920s or 1930s. He probably made this arrangement in the late 1930s, around the same time that Lovedale Press published his arrangement of Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen. The version shown below was filmed in the Shenandoah National Park, and is an arrangement by Mark Patterson in which the melodic line is somewhat different from Moerane's. Moerane's arrangement makes the tune sound more like a sea shanty.
Shenandoah – Youtube performance of another version, sung by Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir Video
Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir