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The poem Auld Lang Syne was written by Robert Burns in 1788. Throughout the English-speaking world it is used to mark the new year, and is also often sung at other important occasions such as graduations and funerals. The poem calls on those assembled to remember and treasure long-standing friendships. It is possible that Burns based his poem on an earlier one from 1711 written by James Watson, with which it shares some similar text and sentiments. Other earlier poems also used the phrase ‘auld lang syne’.
The tune with which the words is mainly associated these days, is probably not the tune Burns originally intended. This arrangement is of the melody that (it is believed) Burns originally used for his poem. Although some elements of the melody are similar to the more widely sung tune, the melody arranged here has more of a folk-song quality to it. It also has a wider vocal range, making massed singing more of a challenge!
Commissioned by Bede Williams and the Pentland Singers, Scotland
Suitable for school and community choirs
Text by Robert Burns