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Shenandoah

Composer
Traditional
Arranger
Difficulty
Easy (Grades 1-3)
Duration
2 minutes
Genre
Classroom materials and Classical music
Instrumentation
Solo instrument
Instrumental parts
Not available

“Oh Shenandoah” (also known as “Across the Wide Missouri”) is a traditional American folksong. The tune is set to many different lyrics. Some lyrics tell the story of a trader who wants to take the daughter of an Indian Chief West across the Missouri River. Some lyrics speak of pining for the beauty of the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia. Other lyrics tell stories of the American Civil War.

This song features a flowing and expansive melody, which is perfect for re-harmonization exercises. This easy piano of arrangement of “Shenandoah” focuses on a descending bassline and simple four part writing. Finding chord shapes with the Left hand while placing the melody gently above the arpeggiated harmonies is the challenge while practicing this piece. The colored notation makes the music easy to read and the score features additional symbols used for braces, clefs, and time signatures which clarify the intention of the musical notation, as well as offering the opportunity for further study and discussion in the piano lesson.

Paint with Piano is a colored music notation system that simplifies the grand staff to help new students read and hear music. The three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) represent the three primary musical functions rest, tension, and support (tonic, dominant, subdominant). Black notes represent non-harmonic tones and secondary colors are sometimes used when two functions can be combined in the same chord (ie. The submediant or mediant). Green is reserved for all applied chord functions, including N6, Aug6, modal mixture, and all secondary dominants.

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