Gloomy December waltz

Also known as Thro’ The Lang Muir.

Gloomy December has been added to 3 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

X: 1
T: Gloomy December
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
a2 (g>f) d2 | f2 d>c A2 | d2 (c<A) GF | G3 (A/2B/2) A2 | a2 "tr"g>f d2 | f2 "tr"d>c A2 |
d2 F2 "tr"E>D/4E/4 | D6 | a2 (g>f) d2 | f2 (d>c) A2 | d2 ( c<A) (GF) | G3 A/2B/2 A2 | a2 g>f d2 |
f2 d>c A2 | d2 F2 "tr"E>D/4E/4 | D6 | F>G A2 A>B/4c/4 | G>A/4B/4 A2 A2 | f2 e2 d2 |
A3 f e>d | a2 (gf) (ed) | a2 (gf) (ed) | f>g "tr"g3 (f/2g/2) | {g}a6| a2 g>f d2 | f2 d>c A2 |
d2 c<A GF | G3 A/2B/2 A2 | a2 g>f d2 | f2 d>c A2 | d2 F2 (E>D/4E/4) | D6 |]

Seven comments

Gloomy December Also Known As Thro’ The Lang Muir

This is really a slow air, a tune collected by Burns and set to the following words by him :-

Ance mair I hail thee, thou gloomy December!
Ance mair I hail thee, wi’ sorrow and care;
Sad was the parting thou makes me remember,
Parting wi’ Nancy, Oh, ne’er to meet mair!
Fond lovers’ parting is sweet, painful pleasure,
Hope beaming mild on the soft parting hour,
But the dire feeling, ‘O. farewell for ever!’
Anguish unmingl’d and agony pure.

Wild as the winter now tearing the forest,
Till the last leaf o’the summer is flown,
Such is the tempest has shaken my bosom
Till my last hope and last comfort is gone:
Still as I hail thee, thou gloomy December
Still shall hail thee with sorrow and care:
For sad was the parting that makes me remember,
Parting wi’Nancy, oh, ne’er to meet mair.

I think that this is a great, atmospheric tune (though maybe its a wee bit repetitive). Jean Redpath has sung
this Burns song but it isn’t well known.

Re: Gloomy December

Nice tune, and, in common with many tunes that Burns used for song settings, a big range of an octave and half. I would have to take it down to G min or even F min below this score to be able to sing it!
Another "gloomy" Burns song with same range is "The Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast" set to the tune of Roslin Castle. Again, not often heard.

Re: Gloomy December

Yes, both gloomy songs are beautiful I’d say. Should think Gloomy December would sound lovely sung in G
minor (wonderful key). I learned Roslin Castle as a tune rather than a song. It seems to be here on the
Session called Roslyn Castle and I think the setting named Roslin Castle (also here) has another tune??
Must look for the words he set. How greatly Burns was affected by gloomy dark winters, he brings them to
life I think!

Re: Gloomy December

Well Roslin does get spelled various ways - Roslin, Roslyn, Rosslyn and there is another version of "The Gloomy Night" on YouTube to a different tune. So here’s the one I sing to the Roslin Castle tune (as noted as the tune for it in The Complete Works of Burns). And note the quote: think he knew his life was nearly over!

The Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast
Tune—"_Roslin Castle._"
["I had taken," says Burns, "the last farewell of my friends, my chest
was on the road to Greenock, and I had composed the last song I should
ever measure in Caledonia— ‘The gloomy night is gathering fast.’"]

The gloomy night is gath’ring fast,
Loud roars the wild inconstant blast;
Yon murky cloud is filled with rain,
I see it driving o’er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor,
The scatter’d coveys meet secure;
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.

The Autumn mourns her rip’ning corn,
By early Winter’s ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave—
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonnie banks of Ayr.

‘Tis not the surging billows’ roar,
‘Tis not that fatal deadly shore;
Tho’ death in ev’ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear!
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc’d with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonnie banks of Ayr.

Farewell old Coila’s hills and dales,
Her heathy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched Fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!
Farewell, my friends! Farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those—
The bursting tears my heart declare;
Farewell, my bonnie banks of Ayr!

Re: Gloomy December

P.S. Just managed to find the Gloomy December song sung by Jean Redpath, and yes, she sings it in G min!

Re: Gloomy December

re : The Gloomy Winter (words) - a lovely song of farewell and even gloomier than Gloomy December, thank

Re: Gloomy December

I’m sorry this brilliant, atmospheric song by Burns isn’t better known. Good on fiddle, and also, with a few eerie chords, on piano. To be played or sung slowly, I’d say.