Dec 312011
 

Does anyone else remember when Guy Lombardo brought in the New Year?

“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially (but far from exclusively) 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 jamborees and other functions.

The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by” or “old times”. Consequently “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, is loosely translated as “for (the sake of) old times”.

The song begins by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships. Most common use of the song involves only the first verse and the chorus. The last lines of both of these are often sung with the extra words “For the sake of” or “And days of”, rather than Burns’ simpler lines. This allows one note for each word, rather than the slight melisma required to fit Burns’ original words to the melody.

But my fondest memory is watching Fred and Ginger with my Ma, there was a marathon all night. There was nothing like this. My mother died on New Years Eve at twenty minutes to midnight. So for me it’s painful tears also. ~JP

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