Ashokan Farewell

This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "Ashokan Farewell" by Jay Ungar.

For instructions on how to upload your video and be part of our Spring Waltz compilation, click the following link!

https://bluegrassdaddy.com/ashokan-farewell-compilation-video/

BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

Genre: Bluegrass, Old Time
Skill Level: Beginner
Key of D

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

NOTE: If multiple fiddle lessons and MP3s are loading at once, this page will get slow! I recommend that you refresh the page each time you open a new video or MP3.

Video #1: Here is a video of me performing the fiddle tune "Ashokan Farewell" at 90 BPM. I play it three times, adding a harmony with each repeat. This is going to be the song for our May 2015 "Spring Waltz." Plug in your earphones and send in a video yourself playing along with me! If you don't want to hear me when you play, use the 90 bpm MP3 Jam Track below instead. Just make sure that all we hear is your fiddle! We shouldn't hear me fiddling, or the backing track. I will mix all the videos together to make something wonderful. For more information, here is our discussion page for the compilation.

Ashokan Farewell - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Ashokan Farewell - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Ashokan Farewell - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

"Ashokan Farewell" was composed by Jay Ungar in 1982. It has served as a goodnight or farewell waltz at the annual Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps, run by the composer and his wife (Molly Mason, who gave the tune its name) at the lakefront campus (near Ashokan Reservoir) of the State University of New York at New Paltz. The tune was later used as the title theme of the 1990 PBS television miniseries The Civil War, by Ken Burns, as well as the 1991 compilation album Songs of the Civil War. (wikipedia)

Posted in Beginner, Bluegrass, OldTime Tagged with:

Best Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Ashokan Farewell

This topic contains 41 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  John Cockman 10 months ago.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 42 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #6321

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Ashokan Farewell
    A beautiful new classic! Jay Ungar is such a gifted tune writer.

    https://bluegrassdaddy.com/ashokan-farewell/

    #6322

    Harlen Depew
    Participant

    Thanks John. I’ve been hoping you would do this one. I worked up the courage to play Lover’s Waltz last night at band practice for the first time, and it went pretty well. I think I’m making some progress on achieving better right and left hand form, but it’s slow. I’ll try to upload another video soon, so you can keep me pointed in the right direction. Thanks again, and a Blessed Easter to all!

    #6323

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Fantastic! Happy Easter to you.

    #6324

    Tom Howell
    Participant

    wow j0hn you make it look sooooo easy lol

    im playing with the fret board you sent me. things have improved but im not ready to post a video yet. hopefully by sept
    ill keep you posted.
    all the best to you
    and ur family

    #6325

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I’m looking forward to it! John

    #7820

    spacefolder
    Member

    Hi John!

    By any chance, have you transcribed the notes for the second part, with “ornaments”?

    Cheers, and thanks again for this GREAT website!

    Spacefolder

    #7844

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I haven’t done that! I really need to though. And, I should also transcribe a harmony part. I am going to start doing that, especially with my gospel tunes.

    #7949

    spacefolder
    Member

    Thank you John. Keep up the great work!
    Cheers

    Marc

    #7951
    peggys
    peggys
    Participant

    I’m afraid that to stay on those lovely high notes, without sounding like I’ve stepped on my cat, I would need to have one of those handy dandy fingerboard markers…where might that be acquired John?

    #7954

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Hi Peggy, you are referring to the handy-dandy “Don’t Fret” sticker, created by Phil Coonce, who is also a member here at BluegrassDaddy.com! Here is the link to the Amazon page where you can purchase one.

    Don’t Fret Sticker at Amazon.com

    Phil Coonce

    #9363

    ice1272
    Member

    John I second That…….

    [quote=7820]Hi John![/quote]

    #9365

    ice1272
    Member

    Hey John hows the second part Tab coming?

    #21089

    russ77
    Participant

    When I grow up, I wanna play like Jay Ungar 🙂

     

    #21093

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Isn’t he awesome! When I grow up, I want to COMPOSE like Jay Ungar 🙂

    #21947

    Kennedy Family
    Participant

    Great Job! Keep up the GOOD Work!!!!

    #21949

    Kennedy Family
    Participant

    !!!Krow DOOG eht pu Peek !Bog Taerg!

    meaning:

    Great Job! Keep up the GOOD Work!!!

    #21973

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thank you, Kennedys! I am looking forward to having you on the Ashokan Farewell compilation!

    #23959
    Rock
    Rock
    Participant

    John, triplets why didn’t you tell us? No truly that was beautiful! 🙂 I don’t know how I missed this one. I’m going to learn this one for sure! 🙂

    #26373
    rodger
    rodger
    Participant

    John,  At first I missed seeing the harmony part 1 & 2. Got it now.. It just ends too quick..I’d like to get some variations to work in for repeats also..maybe you could write some?? (Pretty Please) It hardly gets any better than that for sheer beauty!

    • This reply was modified 47 years ago by .
    #26379

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I’m glad you found them! So far the only variation I have beyond the beginner version is the version with ornamentation (the way Ungar plays it).

    #26515
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Hi DR. JOHN,
    Heard Ashoken Farewell in Gettysburg movie and was thinking that my great-great grandpappy had heard this piece back then and I wanted to learn it on the violin. Just tried it using your lessons and am thrilled to hear at least a few notes coming off my own instrument. Found out it was written 120 years after the War but…now one of my favorite songs anyhow. You do it spendidly, btw. Feel a lump in my throat every time I hear it done so beatuifully.

    Am trying to get in a few hours a day in practice and will send a vid when it sounds considerably better than it does at this time.

    #26517

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thank you! A few hours a day — wow — that is a lot of practice. Don’t wear yourself out! I can’t wait to hear it in the Lion’s Den. You’ll make your great-great-grandpappy proud!

    #27594
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Hello Dr. John,

    Been on the road past few weeks so practice has suffered but did have the opportunity to hear what nicer fiddles should sound like while  in Branson and now here in north Dallas and the sounds they’re making oughtn’t sound so much like a tin can with strings. (As mine does).  I’ll keep scratching away on it but sure have something nicer in mind and will try an older one that is available.

    #27597

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Sounds like a plan! I hope you’ve enjoyed the freedom of the road. Now — back to your confinement the hall closet for some fiddle practice! 🙂

    #29293
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Hello Dr. John,

    Have FINALLY reached a place in life where I can occasionally get most of the way through this song.  Still sounds pretty ragged and have a list of things to watch for.  Double stop sounds raspy,  slurs appear occasionally,  no vibrato or ornaments yet, timing slips around, keeping the bow perpendicular and several things that you’d catch so will polish this all up and hope to get something for the Lion’s Den soon.

    Still love practice though and try for at least a half hour every day or so.

    #29298

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    That’s awesome, Ralph! Persistent practice ALWAYS pays off. I can’t wait to hear it in the Lion’s Den!

    #29314
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Good morning Sir,

    Most of my current practice is by following you with your metronome and attempting to have similar sounds.  Even do…but only on occasion!  Found that tipping my  bow a bit sideways was making strange sounds that worried me.  When I flattened the hair to the strings, the sound vastly  improved.  Duh!

    Also realize that I may have jumped into Ashoken a bit too early and hadn’t gotten all the fundamentals down so am learning the various scales and will warm up doing them.

    Thought that I pretty much knew where to place my fingers but got some auto striping tape and pasted that on the right places and was quite amazed to see how much it actually helps so now have both violins so decorated.   I spend A LOT of time just staring up the neck too, I found.   Will be working on that too.

    #29315

    Ruckydoo, I’m sure you will sound great. Scales are fun and important. I often reset fingers when do scales.. normally I play to low after some time exercise.

    #29318

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Tipping the bow can sound good, but you have to apply enough pressure to push all the hairs against the string. If you are bowing lightly, having the hairs flat against the string sounds best.

    #29359
    kevinj
    kevinj
    Participant

    John, your comments on tilted bows were interesting. My thinking is that the hairs will naturally lay “flat” against the strings (in the middle of the bow stroke) almost regardless of bow tilt. At the tip/frog ends, tilting makes more of a difference because the strings can’t naturally bunch up against the string.

    Having the hair flat against the string sounds best, you say. Why? (Because the string vibrates best under those conditions? Why? Because flat hair bites the strings better? Why? Because there’s more rosin in contact?)

    It seems the bow usually tilts back and forth during each stroke anyway, because of the way the wrist folds (at least in the usual violin/fiddle bow bow holds). At least it happened to my wrist…

    I wonder if you could explain your reasoning in an educational manner (physics?) concerning bow tilts… Thanks 🙂

    #29360
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Thank you.

    #29390

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I guess if I were looking at it from a physics standpoint, I’d say there is probably an optimal number of hairs for playing the violin. One single hair would not provide enough grip/strength to sufficiently control the string, and 1000 hairs would be too cumbersome to manage. So, through trial and error, modern bow makers settled on a ribbon that consists of 150-200 hairs

    When I play with a bow that is missing half the hair, I can’t get the big tone I am used to with a full hank. The sound is thin and airy. It is kind of like playing with a baroque bow.

    Tipping or tilting the bow is very natural, because a proper wrist curvature will almost always result in the bow being tilted. However, if your pressure is too light, this can reduce the number of hairs that contact the string, creating the same effect as having too few hairs. That’s why, when my bow is tilted, I make sure to apply enough presser so that the string contacts the entire ribbon. This gives me a nice fat tone and a good wrist curvature at the same time.

    When I want to ease up on the pressure, it still sounds better to use the entire ribbon. So, I find myself flattening the bow in order to play with the full ribbon while applying less pressure.

    #29574
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Hello Dr. John,

    The tipping that I commented on was when the wood of my bow was nearly touching the strings.  Sloppy wrist control on my part and am making corrections as I recognize them.   I appreciate your remarks on the subject.  Thank you

    #29681

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Nice work, Ralph! Self-awareness is key. 🙂

    #32653
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    G’mornin’ Dr. J,

    Been making some nasty sounds with the only double stop  in AF but see that you do that with the down bow but I’d been locked into the up bow.  Vastly improved sound now.

    Also found that I have a second bow that doesn’t have the proper sounds as I have to tighten it to a much greater distance from hair to wood as my other.  A music store amigo may sell me a better bow  and provide a lecture on bow care too.   Always loosen bow when I finish lessons but this came came with the violin (2 came with) but doesn’t sound right.

     

     

    #32760

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Ralph, I hope you get the bow issues worked out. 🙁

    That double-stop in AF is not required! Ungar plays it, and I thought it made a nice practice item to throw into the song. But, don’t feel bad about just playing the higher string there.

    #32792
    ruckydoo
    ruckydoo
    Participant

    Kinda like that d-stop but it doesn’t always make the desired sound.  Will continue working on it.  Thanks for the tip.

    #38386
    Darlene
    Darlene
    Member

    This is a beautiful one. I’m going to keep practicing this for awhile

    #43997

    dredger
    Participant

    Hi John….Can you help me figure out where I am messing up? I am attempting to play along  on the Ashokan  Farewell  lesson. I have the violin tuned o 440 HZ according to 2 different electronic tuneers.  I am having to finger one full step up  to be in pitch with you. I have installed a no fret sticker( for 4/4 violin) according to your instructions and cannot figure out why the difference now. In other words…When you play the open A for the first note in Ashokan, I have to finger the note at A-1 to get he same pitch. It almost seems like I need to cut off the sticker so that  the yellow line is against he nut. Thanks for your help.  Frank

    #44002

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I’m not sure what could be causing you to be tuned low! It isn’t the sticker, since the open notes aren’t matching up. It sounds as if your A note is actually tuned to G instead. Still, I don’t know how that is happening if you are using two different tuners!

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