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Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'

Jim I 31 Dec 12 - 11:05 PM
Jim Dixon 31 Dec 12 - 11:20 PM
bubblyrat 01 Jan 13 - 04:53 AM
Micca 01 Jan 13 - 05:29 AM
Little Robyn 01 Jan 13 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Jan 13 - 09:00 AM
Jack Campin 01 Jan 13 - 09:33 AM
Manitas_at_home 01 Jan 13 - 09:38 AM
wysiwyg 01 Jan 13 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Jan 13 - 10:56 AM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 12:53 PM
GUEST 01 Jan 13 - 01:19 PM
Mark Ross 01 Jan 13 - 01:33 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Jan 13 - 01:48 PM
Will Fly 01 Jan 13 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,henryp 01 Jan 13 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Jan 13 - 01:59 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 02:06 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 02:08 PM
Leadfingers 01 Jan 13 - 02:09 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 02:15 PM
alex s 01 Jan 13 - 02:16 PM
Jack Campin 01 Jan 13 - 02:24 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 02:31 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 02:31 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 02:33 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Jan 13 - 08:19 PM
Midchuck 01 Jan 13 - 08:34 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 13 - 10:05 PM
Dave Hanson 02 Jan 13 - 03:24 AM
catspaw49 02 Jan 13 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Jan 13 - 03:35 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 02 Jan 13 - 07:26 PM
Tattie Bogle 02 Jan 13 - 08:12 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Jim I
Date: 31 Dec 12 - 11:05 PM

Watching some of the Civil War programme on PBS I was trying to remember the name of the tune that runs through it. It seems so familiar but the name just won't come back. Any ideas out there?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Dec 12 - 11:20 PM

I think you mean ASHOKAN FAREWELL, by Jay Ungar.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: bubblyrat
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 04:53 AM

I think that there is a video of Jay and Molly playing it on "You-tube" .


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Micca
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 05:29 AM

It is No. 40 (of 300) in Classic FMs Hall of Fame for 2012 (a list voted by the listeners) here in the UK!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Little Robyn
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 07:08 AM

Here they are.
Very nice.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 09:00 AM

Folkie fiddler Jay Ungar composed it near Ashokan Reservoir in New York State in 1982.

It's a beautiful melody, but its only connection to the Civil War is the one that Ken Burns gave it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 09:33 AM

Solid plastic music to go along with green ladies painted on velvet, bronzed baby shoes, ingot pendants and handbags with kittens and rhinestones. There are very few tunes played in the session scene I actively loathe but that piece of fakery is #1 in my personal hit parade from hell.

At least it means I get a break to go for a pee because NO WAY will I play it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 09:38 AM

What's fake about it?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 10:04 AM

It's also gorgeously sung by Priscilla Herdman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XanZlZ1zzc

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 10:56 AM

Good question, Manitas.

Of course, the fact that its excellence has made it into a pop cliche' - a Pavlovian signal for maudlin reflection akin to "Danny Boy" and "Shenandoah"(two other beautiful melodies) - may easily have turned it "plastic" in the minds of many.

Nobody can wrench music from their personal associations.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 12:53 PM

"fake".   Only to the folkier- than- thou.

For most of the rest of us, it's amazingly moving, since it's been associated with the horrible carnage of the Civil War, long, long before we learned it was just the farewell tune for a dance camp.

And most of us also find it a wonderful melody.

It's a perfect illustration of the power of music and the power of the brain.

As an American I was once asked at Sidmouth whether it is considered sacrilegious to dance to it.

Obviously it is not--but that does not stop the nagging feeling for many that it would in fact be so.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:19 PM

In fact, Unger's waltz was written for dancing.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:33 PM

I think Jay wrote the tune as sort of a Scottish lament in the last night of one of his fiddle camps at Ashokan. Beautiful piece and I play it every chance I get.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:42 PM

It would be interesting to know however if it is often now used for dancing.

The association with the Civil War is almost overpowering.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:48 PM

If you've watched the series.

Otherwise....


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:55 PM

We (our ceilidh band) play this tune in the style of a Viennese waltz, i.e. quite briskly (180 beats a minute) and with a distinct lilt to it - quite a bit removed from the original style of Jay Ungar. Played this way it's less 'sickly', so to speak, to my mind.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:58 PM

Jay Ungar says;

"I composed Ashokan Farewell in 1982 shortly after our Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps had come to an end for the season. I was feeling a great sense of loss and longing for the music, the dancing and the community of people that had developed at Ashokan that summer. I was having trouble making the transition from a secluded woodland camp with a small group of people who needed little excuse to celebrate the joy of living, back to life as usual, with traffic, newscasts, telephones and impersonal relationships. By the time the tune took form, I was in tears. I kept it to myself for months, unable to fully understand the emotions that welled up whenever I played it. I had no idea that this simple tune could affect others in the same way.

Ashokan Farewell was written in the style of a Scottish lament. I sometimes introduce it as, "a Scottish lament written by a Jewish guy from the Bronx." I lived in the Bronx until the age of sixteen.

In 1983, our band, Fiddle Fever, was recording its second album, Waltz of the Wind, and we needed another slow tune. We tried my yet unnamed lament. The arrangement came together in the studio very quickly with a beautiful guitar solo by Russ Barenberg, string parts by Evan Stover and upright bass by Molly Mason. Now it needed a name. Molly suggested the title, Ashokan Farewell. It seemed right to me."

I don't know what element of fakery it could contain. It seems genuine to me. The associations are yours rather than the tune's.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:59 PM

I don't watch TV, so I associate it with the Ashokan dance camp, and with Jay Ungar presenting the song as a kind of gift to people he had spent pleasurable time with.

I've been to such events myself, and I know the feeling of affection one develops for companions like that.

I like the piece.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:06 PM

For the general public--which obviously included some Sidmouth visitors--who were British, by the way,-- the association with the Civil War is indelible.

I am not a dancer, by and large, but it seems questionable to me how even a brisk rendition of this would be received in the US--aside from in Jay Unger's own dance community.

Maybe some dancers--especially in the US--could speak to this.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:08 PM

But, regardless, the tune is not "fake"--except, as I mentioned, to the folkier-than-thou.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:09 PM

Damn Fine tune as far as I am concerned , but NOT Whistle friendly ! To play it in D ( the written key ) requires a G whistle played in two sharps , otherwise there are a couple of Octave jumps !!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:15 PM

It's true, ya gotta pick the key pretty carefully to be able to play it--it's got quite a range. I play it on the viola--but not in the violinists' chosen key, though I can harmonize with the violin.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: alex s
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:16 PM

It's no more fake than tunes by Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham and many more great tunesmiths.
Jack Campin has obviously missed the point entirely - it's nowt to do with the Civil War and never was intended to be.

Go on Jackie lad, play it - you'll like it if you do.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:24 PM

Its style comes from the milieu of Mantovani, Andre Kostelanetz, Nelson Riddle, George Melachrino and their like - American easy listening - but Ungar marketed it as something from Scottish tradition. It isn't, and doesn't sound remotely like it. That's what's fake.

Played in a cocktail bar by somebody in designer shades and a gold lame dinner jacket along with "Moon River" and "Love Is Blue" it would be just fine.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:31 PM

Unless he's determined to not like it.   I get the impression he's a stalwart individual-- perfectly capable of maintaining his scorn for the piece.    He ought to ask Bill D. about his T-shirt.

Reminds me of myself--at 13 years old.   We moved to Maryland and I was determined to be miserable--and gloriously successful in that endeavor.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:31 PM

QED


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:33 PM

crossposted, obviously


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 02:37 PM

"Ungar marketed it..."    Evidence, please.

It is possible for a piece of music to have a certain flavor without being "from Scottish tradition".    A trace of sour grapes seems to be in the air.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 08:19 PM

I'm an American. I have loved music all my life and have listened to many, many kinds of it. The first time I heard 'Askokan Farewell.' a vision came to me of the 19th-C American town in a broad green valley. It's in the distance, and one church steeple reaches for the sky.

That's how old-time the song is. Andre Kostelanetz? Don't be silly.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Midchuck
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 08:34 PM

Back in the year of '04, I posted my lyrics of choice for this tune.

P.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 10:05 PM

Excellent, Peter.

Irreverence is always a good cure for too much reverence.

You must have been a hard-core bluegrasser at some point.   I'll never forget the Dry Branch response to a request for Fox on the Run:    turned around, then turned around again, armed with kazoos, which were then used for a classic rendition of that tune.

Most of us, I don't think, OD'ed on Ashokan.   But certainly for those who did, your response is quite apt.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 03:24 AM

Get that broomstick out of your arse Jack, it's a great tune that everyone likes except you, miserable sod.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 05:53 AM

If there is fault in AF it comes from the overwhelming acceptance that has made it so popular and hence caused some to get tired of it. It happens sometimes.   We actually blame a tune for being great! Most of us have also explained that it is not a Civil War song ad nauseum but what a wonderful thing that after the Burns series many felt it was and that is also due to the fact the tune is so lovingly crafted in the "tradition of folk."

It also has the special magic of working well for so many instruments. While a fiddle tune in origin, I have heard excellent renditions on almost all "folk" instruments except bodhran...LOL....I used to love it on Hammered Dulcimer. I had a Civil War medley I played and was asked repeatedly why I didn't play "that song from TV."   I got tired of explaining so used it as "bookends" for the same medley. I would still tell listeners it really wasn't from the Civil War but I had to admit to myself it improved the medley.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 03:35 PM

Good thoughts, Spaw.

Something to keep in mind - many people raised on rock, rap and country have never heard anything remotely like Ashokan Farewell. To us, it's another ballad melody. To them, it's a whole new world.

I went to YouTube to listen to Jay Ungar play it himself, and I didn't enjoy it. Too slow, too mournful. I fear the Performing Arts Homogeneity Board has got to him. The version of AF whose MIDI I got off the Internet was different. Very American sounding. How do you get that?

1. Start humming "The Old Rugged Cross." Switch to AF keeping the tempo the same. It's faster but not too fast.

2. Chances are, you play it in D. Go through your copy and scratch out all well-meaning, lounge-flavored F#m's. Replace them with D's or Bm's as you prefer.

3. In the middle of the fourth full measure, there is a note D which is 1.5 beats long. (the chord in use is a G). Put a short, but complete stop to all sound at the end of that long D. Pretend that a sentence ended there and that you took a catch breath before resuming. This happens four times in the course of the tune.

Here's a Czech bluegrass site whose 'Ashokan Farewell' MIDI does it.

http://shellin.wz.cz/midikat1.htm

4. Picture a small but hopeful town in a huge landscape. The houses are covered in clapboard, and most of them are white. By the way, a lot of the people in them are either Czech or German. They probably have a piano or an organ in the parlor.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 07:26 PM

I can't say how plastic or canned this is, but my husband and I have worked out a duet for fiddle and piano that starts with a slow Coleman's March and ends with Ashoken Farewell. Invariably that is the favorite of any program we do. We play it and play it and play it, but it doesn't seem to run into the problem Spaw mentioned. We still love it!
And yes, we tell folks when it was written and why, and we describe it as being "not traditional but in the tradition".


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Theme tune for 'The Civil War'
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 08:12 PM

Apart from hearing it on the TV series, the first version I heard was that by Capt J Perkins of the Band of the Royal Marines, and I think that's the one that topped the UK Classic FM radio charts. It's played really beautifully and slowly, even slower than Jay Ungar's own version, either of which I enjoy. But I really hate it when it gets up-tempo'd into a rollicking oom-ching-ching waltz - for me, that just wrecks it, and I have to shut my ears or leave the room. Same effect on me if Da Slockit Light gets played at quick march speed. You feel like asking folk if they have the remotest clue what the tune is about!


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