A Fingerstyle Arrangement of a Timeless Tune
Learn to play a much-beloved tune, best known as the theme from Ken Burns’ award-winning PBS series, The Civil War. Happy Traum teaches an easily accessible, dropped D arrangement of Ashokan Farewell for solo fingerstyle guitar, great for aspiring players at all levels.
Starting with an unadorned melody on the lower frets, Happy builds the arrangement step-by-step, showing you how to add chords, ornaments and variations that make the tune come alive.
Once you’ve mastered the piece in the basic positions, the next version takes it to the higher register, making use of the entire fretboard in beautiful, ringing notes and chords.
As you learn the piece, Happy brings the guitar’s possibilities to light, giving you access to ideas that you can use in arranging other songs and melodies for fingerstyle guitar. The result will be a piece that you can proudly play for friends, families or even paying audiences.
About Ashokan Farewell
Fiddler/mandolinist/composer Jay Ungar’s heartfelt waltz, Ashokan Farewell, has moved and inspired players and listeners alike for nearly forty years. Dozens of acoustic artists, and innumerable bands and orchestras, have played and recorded memorable versions of this timeless tune through the years.
This much-loved melody, written in the style of a Scottish lament, has been strongly associated with the Civil War ever since Ken Burns made it the musical centerpiece of his award-winning PBS documentary. The piece actually originated in 1982 as a sad musical “farewell” to the attendees at Jay’s (and Molly Mason’s) Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps, near the banks of the magnificent reservoir of the same name in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Jay has described the song as an expression of "a sense of loss and longing" after the annual camps ended.
More than 40 years later, the Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps are still going strong, hosting a variety of music and dance instruction annually on the beautiful campus of the Ashokan Center, Shokan, NY.