Songs of Robert BURNS

85 Melodies for ‘The Merry Muses of Caledonia’


Index of the Complete Songs of Robert Burns

The 2007 Linn Records CKD 289 Crossreferred to the 1968 Clarendon edition of The Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, 3 volumes edited by James Kinsley.


Click the link below to download the free

For my own amusement I made a collection of traditional tunes for most of the lyrics contained in the work generally referred to as ‘The Merry Muses Of Caledonia’ [hereafter ‘M.M.C.’] and ascribed in part or largely - depending on the editor - to Robert Burns. I have prepared 85 melodies with brief introduction printed on 9 sheets of A4 which, when folded in half, form a booklet which can be stapled or sewn together. There is a separate PDF for the cover, on the inside of which is a list of contents by song title. At the back are two further indices of the titles of the lyrics and tune tiles listed alphabetical.

The poems and tunes follow the sequence in which they appear in ‘M.M.C.’ edited by James Barke and Sydney Goodsir Smith published by W. H. Allen, London, 1965. While I have used the text from the Barke/Smith edition for the lyrics of the opening example verses, James Kinsley (Clarendon, 1968) is more accurate and often better, but he omits many of the songs included in most editions of the M.M.C., including Barke/Smith’s, either because they are not pukkah or deemed to contain little original Burns.

I have not bothered with asterisks or hyphens in the text other than as required to encode the ABC music notation. If you are likely to be offended by four-letter words en clair

If you want the whole lot, i.e. all 85 melodies, use the PayPal button below to pay £5 into my Paypal account and on receipt I will post to you the printed introduction and pages containing the music. In addition I will email a separate PDF for the cover with indices. I have left the outside of the front cover blank for you to add whatever title or image you wish. I have a rather obscene image on the front of mine which may well not be to everyone’s taste ! I also print the cover on thicker paper or card than the music pages.

sewing The booklet can be stapled or sewn together. Being a book-nerd I prefer the latter. In case you don't know how, make a small hole with a needle about ¾” in from the top edge plus another 4 evenly-spaced holes about 1” apart through the centre fold of the pages. Then, starting from the centre inside sew as in the diagram at left. [Click to enlarge.] Tie A and B together on the inside of the centre-fold to finish. Enjoy !

Click the link below to download

If you have, or intend to get, any of the Linn recordings of 'The Complete Songs of Robert Burns' this index will help you to find the relevant text in 'The Poems and Songs of Robert Burns' edited by James Kinsley. (Clarendon Press, 1968) - far and away the best edition. Or you can of course edit the text to suit the page numbers of your preferred edition.

The PDF is laid out to print A5 double sided and fold in half as an A6 booklet. The INDEX contains the following information in the following order.

  • CD number . track number
  • First line as in Kinsley - NOT the Linn track 'titles' [which are inconsistent and inaccurate]
  • Poem/song number in Kinsley ~ Kinsley volume number ~ Page number

For some mad reason my set of Linn CDs are numbered consecutively from 1 to 10 then; 11, 11b, 12. Needless to say I eschew such silliness so in my index Linn's 11b is my 12, their 12 my 13.

That Burns should feature on a website now focussed on my family history is not entirely inappropriate. As a young girl, a relation of mine called Alicia Flint [1828-1912] met Burns' Clarinda, more properly known as Mrs Agnes McLehose, when the latter was “then a very old lady.” For more about that, see Alicia Flint

At some stage [2019?] I will add links to PDFs of song tunes not included in Kinsley.

© 2018 Duncan Linklater