Flowers of the Forest - a traditional Scottish Folk Song and Lament

"Flowers of the Forest" is a tradition Scottish Folk Song which has evolved significantly over time. The melody is probably much older but a version of it appeared in an early 17th century collection called the Skene Manuscripts. The original melody for Flowers of the Forest has been adapted for many purposes, most notably to fit words penned by Jean Elliot in the 18th century commemorating the death of James IV and his followers at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The tune has been played and arranged for various instruments, but as an instrumental Lament it is often played on the Bagpipes. As such it is frequently played at funeral services including military funerals and Remembrance Day services. At such events the piece is often simply called "The Lament". You can here it played on the bagpipes twice in the Bond film "The World Is Not Enough" after the main titles - at a funeral service and then at Q-branch when the pipes become a flame-thrower.

This particular arrangement is for piano, but the left hand plays a basic set of chords simulating a bagpipe drone. The melody itself can be played by various instruments (a flute for example) and would be heavily ornamented when played on the bagpipes. You can download the sheet music, midi and mp3 files using the links on the left-hand menu. Other folk music can be found on our page about Folk Songs and we also have a page dedicated to Funeral Music.

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