Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

360+ songs with lyrics, sheet music, historical notes & glossary.

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XX
PREFACE
in so far as is recorded in the Notes, which are the result of an examination of several hundred song books of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Until positive evidence is produced they, with many others, may remain at least as editorial originals of Burns. Among, the original authorities which I have consulted it is necessary to name the interleaved Scots Musical Museum, in which Burns wrote a large number of ' Strictures' or Notes on Scottish Song. By a singular fatality these four Important volumes have not been publicly examined until now for nearly a century. They contain an unsuspected holograph copy of Auld Lang Syne, which is printed on page 208. In the Notes the numerous wilful and negligent errors in Cromek's Reliques of Robert Burns (1808) are now pointed out for the first time and corrected/and an abstract of Cromek's misdeeds will be found in the Bibliography following. For the 303 Airs the Authorities are the poet's writings and I—occasionally—Johnson's Museum. The tunes in that collection, iin a few cases, are not those selected by Burns, for the reason that the latter had previously appeared in the first volume of the collection with other verses. Certain of Burns's songs have not. until now been printed with any air. Such, for example, are the best set of verses of The Banks o' Doon (' Ye flowery banks o' Bonie Doon'), and the powerful invective, The Kirk's Alarm (' Orthodox, orthodox! wha believe in John Knox'), which few realize is a song at all; and ' Amang the trees where humming bees ' to the curious air The King o' France he rade a race. On the other hand, many songs are nearly always published with wrong airs. Among others Rantin rovin Robin and ' The gloomy night is-gathering fast,' which belongs to the beautiful air Roslin Castle.
The Tunes have been drawn from early MSS. and from the-numerous vocal and instrumental collections of the eighteenth century, including the Museum. Two are from the MSS. of Burns and therefore interesting, and a few are rare examples. If there has been any system in selecting any particular set of the tune, it has been to form a representative collection of examples from the earliest sources to the close of the eighteenth century, sometimes even at the expense of the verses. Some of the airs are at least three hundred years old, and obviously none are less than a hundredExcluding the exceptional English and Irish airs,
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