Auld Lang Syne on Dulcimer

Ring in the New Year of 2017 by playing “Auld Lang Syne” on your dulcimer. Surprise your family and guests as you play and sing this song at midnight. It’s an easy song to play on the dulcimer. And it is much easier to play a song when you already know the melody and words.times-square-img_1219_1r-r

Auld Lang Syne is credited to a poem that Robert Burns wrote in the 1788. He states that he heard an old man singing the song and wrote down the lyrics, submitting them to the Scots Musical Museum. So perhaps Burns didn’t actually write the song, but he’s credited with the lyrics. The lyrics are very similar to several earlier songs and Scottish poets, too. The melody is an old Scottish folk song.

I’ve always wondered what the lyrics meant. ABC morning news did a story on the song in 2012 and their blog gives a very concise explanation. I couldn’t have said it better, so here is their take on the song. (//

The title of the Scottish tune translates to “times gone by” and is about remembering friends from the past and not letting them be forgotten.

Despite its strong association with New Year’s Eve, “Auld Lang Syne,” written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, was never intended to be a holiday song. Guy Lombardo is credited with popularizing the song when his band used it as a segue between two radio programs during a live performance at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York in 1929. By coincidence, they played “Auld Lang Syne” just after the clock hit midnight, and a New Year’s tradition was born.

I associate “Auld Lang Syne” with New Year’s Eve, the song is sung at other occasions, too. This includes funerals, graduations and as an ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scouts close jamborees with this song.

Here’s my version of “Auld Lang Syne” in DAD tuning. It’s written in a pentatonic scale with five notes per octave (although I include a C# note–this is omitted in many versions of the song). The melody goes to the middle string in a few places, otherwise it is easily played on the melody string.auld_lang_syne_-_dad_-melody_-_maylee-1

Here’s a PDF version that can be downloaded. I’ve include Robert Burns’ lyrics as listed on Wikipedia below.


Our family took a trip to New York City in 2014 over the Christmas holidays and I took a few photos including this one showing the crystal ball atop of One Times Square.times-square-img_1219_1r-rIt was night time, the city was full of tourists and bright lights. I’ve always wanted to go to Rockefeller Center and see the ice skaters. Here was our beautiful lights and displays outside of Rockefeller Center were a young child, I remember taking the three hour drive and visiting Washington D.C., going window shopping at the giant, luxurious department stores. I’m glad to see that Sax of 5th Avenue continues this tradition.maylee-at-sak-5th-avenue-window-img_1200_1-rAnd Grant Park, where we stayed, was a little more peaceful in the late afternoon–away from the busy center of town.grant-park-new-york-city-img_1146_1-rWhat memories! Another year has almost past. We hope 2017 will be a good year for everyone, with lots of dulcimer music.

Here are Robert Burns’ lyrics per Wikipedia. (

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


“Ault Lang Syne”, What Does It Mean Again, in © 2016 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.

The History and Words of Auld Lang Syne. in Scotland, the Official Gatway to Scotland.

Auld Lang Syne in Wikipedia


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