Auld Lang Syne

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Auld Lang Syne

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Auld Lang Syne Introduction


Auld Lang Syne is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world; its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamboreesand other functions.


It is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase "In the days of auld lang syne" as the equivalent of "Once upon a time..." in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.


The tune to which Auld Lang Syne is commonly sung is a pentatonic Scots folk melody, probably originally a sprightly dance in a much quicker tempo.


Besides, Auld Lang Syne has been translated into many languages, and the song is widely sung in many parts of the world. The song's pentatonic scale matches scales used in Japan, India, China and other East Asian countries, which has facilitated its "nationalisation" in the East. The following particular examples mostly detail things that are special or unusual about the use of the song in a particular country.


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