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)

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Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Ashokan Farewell

Viewing 20 posts - 21 through 40 (of 63 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #26517
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    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
    ruckydooruckydoo
    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 (BGD)John (BGD)
    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
    ruckydooruckydoo
    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 (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

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

    #29314
    ruckydooruckydoo
    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 (BGD)John (BGD)
    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
    kevinjkevinj
    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
    ruckydooruckydoo
    Participant

    Thank you.

    #29390
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    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
    ruckydooruckydoo
    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 (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

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

    #32653
    ruckydooruckydoo
    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 (BGD)John (BGD)
    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
    ruckydooruckydoo
    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
    Avatarfiddle camp
    Participant

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

    #43997
    Avatardredger
    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 (BGD)John (BGD)
    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!

    #44024
    AvatarHakan Lindholm
    Participant

    A long shot! Some tuners can be set to tune half step down as default. All open strings will then be tuned half step down. I spent very long time once tuning a guitar before I discovered this problem. My tuner did not display 440 in digits only LEDs for the different strings and the LEDs showed I was in tune. But I was in tune half step down. But since you are using two different tuners this is probably very unlikely. If you have a tuning fork or piano or other instrument in tune you could check the open A with one of those.

Viewing 20 posts - 21 through 40 (of 63 total)
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