A Selection of Scots Songs

Music

Description

English

Over several years Robert Burns contributed to James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803) and later George Thomson’s five-volume A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice, preserving over 300 songs. But a disagreement over the worth of 'The Red, Red Rose' led Burns to offer it to the Scots singer Pietro Urbani, who published it in his volume A Selection of Scots Songs, shown here. It appeared in the second volume of Urbani’s work. 

In the preface Urbani states that the lyrics were given to him by ‘a celebrated Scots poet, who was so struck by them when sung by a country girl that he wrote them down and, not being pleased with the air, begged the author to set them to music in the style of a Scots tune, which he has done accordingly’. Burns himself preferred a different tune, ‘Major Graham’, by the celebrated Scottish composer of dance-tunes Niel Gow; this appeared in the edition of The Scots Musical Museum issued in 1797. 

Full title
A Selection of Scots Songs, Harmonized, improved with Simple and Adapted Graces
Published
1794 , Edinburgh
Format
Music
Creator
Pietro Urbani
Held by
British Library
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions
Shelfmark
G.372.(1.)

Related articles

A ‘cargo of Songs’: Robert Burns, the Hastie manuscript and The Scots Musical Museum

Article by
Robert Irvine
Theme: 
Romanticism

Dr Robert Irvine examines the Hastie manuscript, a collection of manuscript songs by Robert Burns, and The Scots Musical Museum, where they were ultimately published.

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