Home » Song Meanings » The Meaning Behind The Song: Ashokan Farewell (Instrumental) by Jay Ungar

The Meaning Behind The Song: Ashokan Farewell (Instrumental) by Jay Ungar

The Meaning Behind The Song: Ashokan Farewell (Instrumental) by Jay Ungar


Music has a unique way of touching our souls and transporting us to different times and places. One such song that holds a special place in my heart is “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar. This instrumental piece has a haunting beauty that never fails to move me.

The Melody

“Ashokan Farewell” is a waltz in D major, composed in the style of a Scottish lament. It evokes a sense of melancholy and longing, capturing the essence of deep sorrow and mourning. The delicate interplay between the first violin played by Jay Ungar, the second violin played by Mollie Mason, and the guitar strums by Russ Barenberg creates a rich and emotive landscape.

The Civil War Connection

The song gained widespread recognition when it was featured in the PBS television series, “The Civil War.” Its appearance in this documentary further solidified its association with the American Civil War. The series showcased the immense loss and heartbreak experienced during that dark period in American history. “Ashokan Farewell” served as a fitting musical backdrop, resonating with the profound grief that war brings.

A Final Song of Goodbye

Over time, “Ashokan Farewell” has taken on an additional meaning. Perhaps due to its exposure in “The Civil War” or its inherent ability to evoke strong emotions, it has become a popular choice as a final song of goodbye at gravesides. The timeless melody encapsulates the heaviness we feel when bidding farewell to a loved one.

Personal Reflections

In my own experiences with this song, I have found solace and catharsis in its bittersweet notes. I remember attending a memorial service where “Ashokan Farewell” played softly in the background. As tears streamed down my face, I realized the universality of grief and the healing power of music. The song’s ability to capture the essence of loss and longing creates a space for healing and remembrance.


“Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar is a testament to the emotional journey music can take us on. Its association with the American Civil War, combined with its hauntingly beautiful melody, has cemented its place as a deeply meaningful piece. Whether it is heard within the context of historical remembrance or as a final goodbye, this instrumental evokes emotions that resonate with the depths of our souls.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top