Scotland

Robert Burns' songs 'stripped back to original style'

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Media captionThe new project records 'stripped back' Robert Burns songs

The songs of Robert Burns have been stripped back to how they originally sounded by academics at Glasgow University.

Burns' songs are normally associated with a fiddle, guitar and accordion.

But they have now been recorded "how they were intended by Burns himself", with harpsichords, cellos and violas.

Prof Kirsteen McCue, from the university's centre for Burns studies, said the recordings "would not be to everyone's taste".

She added: "We have not recorded them so people will like them, we have recorded them because that is what they are."

Image caption The university team admit not all Robert Burns fans will like the new versions of his music

The recordings involved bringing together a group of 11 young musicians and singers - some who already knew Burns songs and some who had never worked with his music before.

They were each given copies of the original publications from 1787 until the 1830s and asked to build a performance from what they could read on paper.

Prof McCue said: "Part of the aim was to play around with replicas of instruments from that period, to play around with what it would have sounded like with gut-stringed instruments, with harpsichord, with an early piano and early guitar.

"So it does sound very different and that is something which can be unattractive for the vast majority of Burns lovers who just want the melody.

"They just want a singer with a fiddle and the songs work beautifully that way. There's no denying often they work best that way, but that's not how they originally appeared."

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