Gaudeamus Igitur

Christian Wilhelm Kindleben (1748-1785)

"Gaudeamus" has been the traditional University student's song for two hundred years, and the tune is still played (and even sung along to, depending on the University) at graduation ceremonies today. Historically, it has also been the University student's traditional DRINKING song, and is regarded as the original embodiment of the free and easy student life.


Although Gaudeamus is regarded as being the oldest surviving student's song, claims that it was written as early as the 13th century are largely unfounded. A latin manuscript dated 1267 does indeed contain the words to verses two and three of the modern Gaudeamus (as part of a poem entitled "Scribere Proposui"); however, it did not contain the words 'Gaudeamus Igitur' or, indeed, any of the modern first verse, and was set to music which bears no resemblance to the well-known modern melody.

The earliest known appearance of something close to the modern lyrics is in a handwritten student songbook from Germany dating between 1723 and 1750; these were picked up by C.W. Kindleben, but he made important changes to them before he published the resultant (modern) lyrics in his "Studentlieder " in 1781 (the German origins of the modern lyrics explain the rather un-Latin word 'antiburschius' in the seventh verse, which is 'Latinised' German referring to student fraternities).

The melody, however, is of less certain origin; it was already quite well-known when C.W. Kindleben published his lyrics.


'Gaudeamus' used to be the AICSA anthem, before it was replaced (I believe in the early-to-mid 1970s) by 'Laudate'.

There are currently several versions of Gaudeamus floating around AICSA; while all are the same musically, they differ in verse order. This version follows the original 1781 verse order; some AICSA variants, in particular, follow a 1-4-5-6-3 verse order, omitting the other verses altogether. Other AICSA variants only include verses 1,4 and 6.


For those of you who are wondering what the words actually mean, I have even worked out a translation.

The Music

Here are midi (computer music) files for you to download and listen to (If you're using Microsoft Windows, simply click on the link and they should play automatically. If you're not using Windows, I'm going out on a limb and assuming you're technically competent enough to figure things out for yourself....).

Also note that there are midi files of each individual voice part for each piece, so you can hear what each one sounds like - especially your own!

These midi files should give you a fair idea of what each piece - and each individual voice part - sounds like, especially if you're unfamiliar with reading music.

And for those that would like to dowload a viewable and/or printable copy of the score (HINT: most people will want the PDF file; don't try to view the Postscript file unless you know what you're doing):

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