The Origin of a Melody: Auld Lang Syne by Amelia Jones – Latymer


From black and white Yorkshire rabbits in Hogmanay in Scotland, to the spectacular annual fireworks of the London Eye in England, British New Years Eve traditions have become one of the most fundamental elements in welcoming the National New Year. .

Perhaps one of the most famous traditions, aside from the myriad of fireworks that are seen bursting daringly and shining against the gloomy winter sky, is the melody sung by millions of people across the country while the clock strikes the twelve strokes until midnight: Auld Lang Syne.

The original lyrics to the tune were written in Scottish broad, by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788, and set to the traditional tune later in 1799, although it is noted that the actual song was based on a song pre-existing Scottish folklore that had been staging for years before. The expression “auld lang syne” can be translated in a modern English sense of “long old”, or perhaps “a long time ago”. Thus, the first line of the chorus, “for auld lang syne” could be roughly translated as “for the sake of the good old days”. The phrase is not new, having been used in several other older poems and folk songs written before Burns’ song.

The song teaches never to forget an old acquaintance[s]’, a solemn invitation to appreciate and cherish memories and loved ones as the year begins again. Therefore, the song is also played at graduation ceremonies, funerals, and other events where something else bids farewell, and is widely used by the international scout movement, in which it is a song. privileged to close conventions and other occasions.

On New Years in particular, it is a tradition for people to join hands and sing in a bound circle, crossing their arms on the line “and there is a hand, my faithful fire!”

A standard in music, Auld Lang Syne has been re-recorded countless times, in all kinds of styles, genres and artists, and continues to serve as a familiarly nostalgic, sentimental and evocative melody on which to contemplate the last seconds of the year.


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