Hi I’m Vi Wickam, here with another free lesson from myTalentForge.com. This is Ashokan Farewell, and this is the lesson on the harmony.
Ashokan Farewell is a beautiful waltz tune in the key of D written by Jay Unger, who is a fantastic fiddler and song writer, up in the North East- in upstate New York.
One of my highlight moments in my fiddling lifetime is playing Ashokan Farewell with Jay at Ashokan at his music camp a couple of years ago. He played the melody, and I played the harmony.
I love playing twin fiddle harmonies anyway, but playing Ashokan Farewell with Jay was definitely one of those moments that I will always remember- those magical moments.
So, my recommendation is learn the melody first, and then you’re going to play this harmony along with the melody.
It may sound a little bit strange by itself, without the melody. But if you can listen to the melody and play these notes, you’ll end up with something that extra beautiful when you play them together.
So this is Ashokan Farewell harmony!
So that’s a harmony to Ashokan Farewell. That last ending, you’re going to have to adjust to the melody that you’re playing along with.
Let me break it down for you a little bit, but we’ll keep this lesson more simple than the melody. Because the melody lesson is the most important. If you can’t play the melody, and you don’t know the melody in your head, you haven’t memorized it, you can’t play it by heart- then you’re not ready to play the harmony.
So play the melody first, internalize the melody, feel the song, sing the song in your head as you play it.
We start out with the melody […] and then the harmony is […].
It’s a nice thing when you’re playing a harmony to match the bows with the melody for the most part. You may not all the time, but it’s something to aim for.
That little harmony.. and the melody is going.. […]. So it’s going B-D-D-A […].
If I wanted to make the harmony a little more interesting, I could add a G natural, instead of […].
That’s just a matter of personal preference. If I want to play the G natural, it will give it a little more character, a litter more interest. If I play the A there, it just keeps it beautiful, clean, and pure.
I may do it one way one day, and the other way another day.
It’s something to be aware of- that there are options when you play harmony.
So, second time through… […]. In here we have […]- so we’re doing […].
There’s a parallel going on. We’re doing parallel 3rds on an arpeggio. We have a D arpeggio followed by an A arpeggio.
But that sounds a little less interesting in this specific context because we’re going to a D to an A7. Just things to consider, things to think about!
So we’re starting into the B part. That’s the melody line… […].
It’s kind of interesting- the harmony to the B part actually fits the melody to the A part. […] Just in the beginning… […].
It’s a good place to take a little breath there… It’s a little bit of a weird set of intervals. But when you hear it with the melody, you’ll think “Ah! It fits so nicely!”
If you want to make it extra interesting, you can […] do an above and below harmony! That’s a little bit of a more advanced technique.
And that’s really it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson. I hope you take a chance to go out there and find Jay Unger’s other songs. He’s written some other beautiful songs.
He has an album called Harvest Tone that’s really good. Lover’s Waltz is another beautiful song he wrote. Even though Ashokan Farewell is his most famous tune, he has a lot of other great tunes out there.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson. I’ll see you next time!