Lesson 11: Happy New Year! "Auld Lang Syne"

Posted December 15, 2007

Are you going to carry your banjo to a New Year's Eve celebration?  Then there is one song you must have ready: "Auld Lang Syne," attributed to Scottish poet Robert Burns in the 1700's.  The phrase literally translates to "old long since," but a modern English rendering would be "days of long ago," a tribute to the good old days.  In the 20th century, the song became an anthem to ring in the new year.

We have only a narrow window of performance potential for this song, something like January 1, midnight to 12:05 AM.  So, we need a high-energy arrangement which is not difficult to learn, or to play after a few glasses of champagne!  And here it is, using forward roll variations, double-thumb rolls, and a few double-middle (MIMT).  The four exercises presented are the first 4 two measure phrases of the arrangement.  Most of what follows is a repeat of these phrases or something similar.  

Dive right in, and get ready for the New Year!

Exercise 1

Forward roll with 2-5 slide emphasizing the melody, then double thumb roll with slide.

Audio:   Slow   Faster

Exercise 2

D7 chord with forward reverse roll.  Lift the second on the last beat.  The pinch using 1st and 4th strings emphasizes the tonality of the D chord.  Finish with a double thumb variation, thumb repeating 3rd string.

Audio:   Slow   Faster


Exercise 3

Forward roll variation with slide on 2nd beat.  In the 2nd measure, forward roll with slide leads to a double middle pattern MIMT.  End this exercise on the change to the C chord, because that's what comes next.

Audio:   Slow   Faster

Exercise 4

C chord with forward rolls and a double middle pattern.

Audio:   Slow   Faster


Solo:  Auld Lang Syne

The slow version is recorded at tempo 100 in 4/4 time, a little faster than the 80 bpm of the slow exercises.  The faster speed is 100 in cut time, twice as fast.  There is a pickup lick of 3 quarter notes on the open 4th string which is repeated when the faster audio repeats.  See that star after the C in the middle of the second line?  That marks where to jump to from the end of the tablature, a tablature shortcut for D.S. al Coda. 

Audio:   Slow   Faster

This arrangement is similar, though not identical to the one appearing in "Yuletide Banjo" which you can find in the General Store page.

Happy New Year, my friends.  I am excited about the coming year, and I look forward to sharing wonderful music with all of you.

Edward T Wing

Pick'n'Grin, Knoxville, Tennessee