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Introduction

A lover's lament, 1667

Ramsay's "Auld Lang Syne", 1724

Ramsay's version, reprinted with music, 1787

A Caledonian country dance, 1760s

William Shield's Rosina, 1783?

The tune of "Auld Lang Syne", 1792

First publication of the Burns verses, 1796

An old song of olden times, 1793

Words and melody, together at last, 1799

A question of authorship, 1817

A 19th century revision, 1856–1860

Kipling's wartime version, 1900

Learn the whole song

More online exhibitions

 

Exhibitions | Online | Auld Lang Syne: The Story of a Song

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William Shield's Rosina

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When Shield's comic opera Rosina was first performed at Covent Garden in 1782, Scottish song enthusiasts may have recognized a snippet of melody played by oboe and bassoon, in imitation of bagpipes, toward the end of the overture. It was reminiscent of "The Miller's Wedding," a popular Scottish country dance tune that foreshadowed the melody we now call "Auld Lang Syne." Shield included several such folk references in the opera, and this one led to repeated claims—entirely erroneous—that he had composed the now-famous air. (The relevant passage begins at the section marked Allegro.)

William Shield (1748–1829)
Rosina, A Comic Opera
London: Printed for William Napier, [1783?]
James Fuld Music Collection, 2008

Piano: Renate Rohlfing


 
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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.