Ashokan Farewell

Use these audio files when practicing Ashokan Farewell - Version I.

Ashokan Farewell V-I  60 bpm Ashokan Farewell V-I  80 bpm

This song is not that difficult with respects to notes, but it is complicated rhythmically.   For many of you, it will be easier to listen to the music and get the tune in your head, and then try to play it.  But if you want to try and play this strictly by reading the music, think back to grade school math.  An eighth is worth one-half of a quarter.  A dot adds one-half of a note's value, to the note, so if the dot is after a half note (two beats), then a half note with a dot is worth three beats.  If the dot is after a quarter note (one beat), then a quarter note with a dot is worth one and a half beats.

Many musicians count dotted notes with an "and" - meaning that, the beat would normally be counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4.  If dots are involved, they count "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and".  In the second measure of Ashokan Farewell, the first note would be played on the "1 and 2", beats, and the second note would be played on the second "and".  Counting with "ands" also works if you are learning a tune has a lot of eighth notes.

If you look at the key signature in Measure 1, there are two symbols that looks like a pound sign - those are "sharps".  They are located on the "C" space, and the "F" line, on the music staff, and they are telling you that you have to play every "C" and "F", including the ones on your lower strings, one fret up (or sharp).  However, Measure 27 contains a symbol that looks like a box - the symbol is a "natural", and its appearance in the music is called an "accidental".  That is telling you that the "C" that is in Measure 27 is an exception - it is played back one fret, in spite of what the key signature is telling you to do.  The "natural" symbol applies to every note that follows in the same measure, so the last note of Measure 27 is also played one fret back.  In Measure 28, there is no "accidental", so the key signature governs and the second note, which is a "C", is played sharp (one fret up).

Use these audio files when practicing Ashokan Farewell - Version II.

Ashokan Farewell V-II  60 bpm Ashokan Farewell V-II  80 bpm

Before you get even in to this version, you might want to warm up with your "Third Position Exercises" so that you can remember how to make a smooth transition when going up the neck.  Notice, though, the line that leads in to the dotted half note in Measure 24.  That is called a slide.  Put your index finger on the first fret, and quickly slide it up to the second fret, and you'll get a nice little "waa" sound that fits the song quite nicely.

Measures 30 and 31 are very difficult and will take some time to master.  Use these audio files when practicing those measures only.

Ashokan Farewell Arpeggio  60 bpm Ashokan Farewell Arpeggio  80 bpm

The Third Position Exercise specifies that you should move to third position by playing the fifth fret of the "A" string with your FIRST finger, and there's a reason for that.  The note immediately preceding that note is an open string, so it's a good time to move because your fingers aren't doing anything right there.  For the analytics in the class, yes, you can move up the neck at any point in that arpeggio.  The option I have suggested, however, gives a seamless transition that doesn't negatively impact the rhythm.

Remember to use the dots on the side of your neck when you do this!  Most mandolins have a dot on the neck to show you where the fifth fret is - they're there so that you don't have to stop and flip the instrument over to see where the fret is while you're in the middle of the arpeggio.  If you don't have a dot on the fifth fret, consider taking some white-out and putting one there - it will make your life a lot easier.