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When the circle is re-established, everyone turns under the arms to end up facing outwards with hands still joined.In countries other than Scotland the hands are often crossed from the beginning of the song at variance with Scottish custom.
As Scots (not to mention English, Welsh and Irish people) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.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.Robert Burns sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum with the remark, "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man." Some of the lyrics were indeed "collected" rather than composed by the poet; the ballad "Old Long Syne" printed in 1711 by James Watson shows considerable similarity in the first verse and the chorus to Burns' later poem, Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon; The flames of Love extinguished, and fully past and gone: Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold, that loving Breast of thine; That thou canst never once reflect On old long syne."Auld Lang Syne" has been translated into many languages, and the song is widely sung all over the world.The song's pentatonic scale matches scales used in Korea, Japan, India, China and other East Asian countries, which has facilitated its "nationalisation" in the East.A manuscript of "Auld Lang Syne" is held in the permanent collection of The Lilly Library at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Most common use of the song involves only the first verse and the chorus.
As well as celebrating the New Year, "Auld Lang Syne" is very widely used to symbolise other "endings/new beginnings" – including farewells, funerals (and other memorials of the dead), graduations, the end of a (non-New Year) party or a Scout gathering, the election of a new government, the last lowering of the Union Jack as a British colony achieves independence and even as a signal that a retail store is about to close for the day.
The melody is also widely used for other words, especially hymns, the songs of sporting and other clubs, and even national anthems.
The following particular examples mostly detail things that are special or unusual about the use of the song in a particular country.
The strong and obvious associations of the song and its melody have made it a common staple for film soundtracks from the very early days of "talking" pictures to the present—a large number of films and television series' episodes having used it for background, generally but by no means exclusively to evoke the New Year.
The problem is that tunes based on the same set of dance steps necessarily have a similar rhythm, and even a superficial resemblance in melodic shape may cause a very strong apparent similarity in the tune as a whole.