Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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PREFACE
XXI
they form an epitome of Scottish music which probably would have been more attractive to the general reader with pianoforte accompaniments. But this is not a music book in the modern sense, only a quarry for the constructive composer and for the student of folk-songs. Most of the airs are anonymous. They floated in the air for an indefinite time until caught and chained by the printing-press. Of a few alone are the composers known, those by the friends of the poet, too amiably adopted, being among the worst in the collection, with the brilliant exception of Willie brew'd a peck o' maut.
I have only to add that, although great care has been taken in revising and correcting the Notes, it would be vain to expect that all the references are complete. To discover the historical origin of the airs, much time has been spent in the examination of a large number of musical collections, and those who have experience of • research among undated books will most readily forgive editorial Imperfections and errors which have escaped notice in revision.
My thanks are due for much valuable assistance in the compila­tion of this volume. Among others I am indebted to the late Thomas Law, of Littleborough, for permission to insert a facsimile of the original MS. of Burns, which is referred to under the title Law's MS. List, and also for the loan of the copy of the Caledo­nian Pocket Companion, which belonged to Burns ; to the Scottish Text Society for permission to reprint the verses of Welcum Fortoun, on p. xxix, from The Gude and Godlie Ballatis, 1897; to Mr. George Gray, of the County Buildings, Glasgow, for the ' use of the detached sheets which are referred to in the Notes as Grafs MS. Lists, and for the use of some rare song books ; to Mr. John Glen, of Edinburgh, for the dates of publication of some scarce musical collections, and for the loan of old music books and assistance in tracing airs; to Miss Oakshott, of Arundel Square, Barnsbury, London, who permitted me to copy for in­sertion the Notes of Burns in the Interleaved Museum ; and, though last not least, to Professor Joseph Wright, of Oxford, the editor of the colossal Dialect Dictionary, for valuable suggestions in compiling the Glossary.
11 Osborne Avenue, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, July, 1903.






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