Auld Lang Syne

Anselm Lingnau

Message 29318 · 26 Jan 2002 09:49:55 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Richard Goss <xxx009x3@xxxxxxx.xxx> writes:

> Interesting point re ALS. As Ramsey preceeded Burns, does this suggest
> that the Burns copied the an "old man" who was paraphrasing Ramsey,
> Ramsey was paraphrasing the old man, or all three were paraphrasing an
> older source? Burns' version seems too close to Ramsey just to have been
> a coincidence.

This is all very complicated since there were lots of more or less
similar songs making the rounds. It is entertaining to look around on
the Web for various items about ALS; the site at
http://www.robertburns.org/ seems to be defunct but there is a long piece
at http://www.tamoshanter.free-online.co.uk/Auldls.htm that tries to trace
some of the various versions of the song.

> However, I do remember her [Jean Redpath] singing ALS to a similar, but
> different tune than that to which we know it.

The »similar, but different tune« for Auld Lang Syne is actually fairly
well-known in Scottish folk music these days. I've heard it quite a
number of times as the last encore at concerts -- it seems that the
performers want to avoid all the romanticisms connected with the
»popular« version while also going back to the »real thing«.

It certainly has something going for it; we get these massive touring
companies of three or four Scottish folk bands that roam Germany once a
year over a period of four weeks or so, and more than once I've had the
fortune of being in the audience at the very last concert of the series.
It is difficult to imagine what goes on in the musicians' minds, who are
basically all good friends that have been travelling and working closely
together and will then presumably go their separate ways again for a
time, but having a baker's dozen of the crème of Scottish folk music --
people like The Poozies, the Battlefield Band, The Cast, or the late and
lamented Davy Steele -- up there on the stage at the end of the very
last night and giving it all they've got with Burns's old song is
certainly something special for *me* even if I'm just listening (or
singing along, as the case may be).

Anyway, before I get carried away completely (this year's concert is on
Wednesday week), here is the music in question for you to look at:

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/music/Info/RRTuneBk/RRtunes1B/00/00000045.html

The song has been recorded not only by Jean Redpath (I think) but also
by The Cast, and I have a compilation album called »The Music and Song
of Edinburgh«, from Greentrax, that includes it.

Time for bed.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau .......................................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you
are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation. -- George Bernard Shaw

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