"Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots poem written by Robert
Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk
song (Roud # 6294). It is well known in many countries,
especially in the English-speaking world, its
traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year
at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also
sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or
ending to other occasions. The international Scouting
movement, in many countries, uses it to close jamborees
and other functions.
The song's Scots title may be translated into standard
English as "old long since", or more idiomatically,
"long long ago", "days gone by" or "old times".
Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in
the first line of the chorus, might be loosely
translated as "for (the sake of) old times".
The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" is also used in similar
poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay
(1686–1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older
folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the
phrase "In the days of auld lang syne" as the
equivalent of "Once upon a time..." in his retelling of
fairy tales in the Scots language.
Although originally composed for folk instruments &
voice, I created this Interpretation of the "Auld Lang
Syne" (for the sake of old times) for Flute, Oboe &
Strings (2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass).