"Scotland the Brave" (Scottish Gaelic: "Alba an àigh"
with àigh meaning joy, happiness, prosperity, luck,
success - lots of good things, but not brave or
bravery) is a Scottish patriotic song. It was one of
several songs considered an unofficial national anthem
of Scotland. Surprisingly, Scotland has no national
anthem, although along with "Flower Of Scotland", the
Gaelic Air "Alba An Aigh" rendered in English as
"Scotland The Brave" is as good as. Written in 2/4
time, it is of surprisingly recent origin, and was
published first around 1911 as "Scotland, The
Brave!!!", and has been dated from around 1891-95,
although the sentiment dates back to at least the
1820s. It was probably originally a flute solo, though
the instrumental version is more usually played on the
The definitive lyrics were penned as recently as 1951.
Glasgow man Cliff Hanley (1923-99) was an author,
historian and broadcaster among his other talents; he
wrote the new words for Robert Wilson, a performer who
needed a song for the finale of his show at a Christmas
Scottish review that was being performed at the Glasgow
"Scotland The Brave" is also known as "Brave Scotland",
"My Bonnie Lass", My Bonnie Lassie" (with alternative
lyrics) and as "Scotland Forever". "My Bonnie Lassie"
was actually penned by two American songwriters Roy C.
Bennett and Sid Tepper (who wrote songs for Elvis).
The instrumental version is also the authorised pipe
band march of the British Columbia Dragoons of the
Canadian Forces. In 2006, it was adopted as the
regimental quick march of the Royal Regiment of
In content, lyrically, it is similar to "Land Of My
Fathers" and similar national anthems and patriotic
songs, extolling the natural beauty of the country as
well as the bravery of its warriors. This piece is
hands-down, the most popular song for pipe bands to
play in American parades.
Although this piece was originally written for Scottish
Pipe bands, I arranged it for String Ensemble (2
Violins, 2 Violas, Cello & Bass) at the request of a