- "De Brevitate Vitae" and "Gaudeamus" redirect here. For the work by Seneca the Younger, see De Brevitate Vitae (Seneca). For the Gaudeamus Foundation and Prizes, see Gaudeamus Foundation. For the rodent genus, see Gaudeamus (rodent).
"De Brevitate Vitae" ("On the Shortness of Life"), more commonly known as "Gaudeamus Igitur" ("So Let Us Rejoice") or just "Gaudeamus", is a popular academic commercium song in many European countries and South Africa, mainly sung or performed at university graduation ceremonies. Despite its use as a formal graduation hymn, it is a jocular, light-hearted composition that pokes fun at university life. The song dates to the late 13th century, based on a Latin manuscript from 1287. It is in the tradition of carpe diem ("seize the day") with its exhortations to enjoy life.
It was known as a beer-drinking song in many ancient universities and is the official song of many schools, colleges, universities, institutions, student societies and is the official anthem of the International University Sports Federation.
The lyrics reflect an endorsement of the bacchanalian mayhem of student life while simultaneously retaining the grim knowledge that one day we will all die. The song contains humorous and ironic references to sex and death, and many versions have appeared following efforts to bowdlerise this song for performance in public ceremonies. In private, students will typically sing ribald words.
The song is sometimes known by its opening words, "Gaudeamus igitur" or simply "Gaudeamus". In the UK, it is sometimes affectionately known as "The Gaudie". The centuries of use have given rise to numerous slightly different versions.
Johannes Brahms quoted the hymn in the final section of his Academic Festival Overture. Sigmund Romberg used it in the operetta The Student Prince, which is set at the University of Heidelberg. The hymn is also quoted, along with other student songs, in the overture of Franz von Suppé's 1863 operetta Flotte Burschen (the action being once again set at the University of Heidelberg).
Below is an 18th-century version of the song (C. W. Kindleben, 1781), with two translations to English (one anonymous and literal, and another by J. Mark Sugars, 1997). The word antiburschius is not Classical Latin, but came to refer to opponents of the 19th century politically active German student fraternities.
When sung, the first two lines and the last line of each stanza are repeated; for instance:
- Gaudeamus igitur.
- Juvenes dum sumus.
- Gaudeamus igitur.
- Juvenes dum sumus.
- Post iucundam iuventutem.
- Post molestam senectutem.
- Nos habebit humus —
- Nos habebit humus.
|Latin||English||English (Mark Sugars, 1997)|
In popular culture
TV and film
- The song is sung on several occasions during the film The Student Prince (1954) starring Edmund Purdom and Ann Blyth.
- An excerpt of the song was performed by cast members of the television series The West Wing during the episode entitled "Debate Camp".
- An arrangement of the tune is played on The Andy Griffith Show episode, "The Education of Ernest T. Bass," when Bass receives his diploma.
- The song is sung in Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire by a number of academics at a party where they are celebrating the upcoming nuptials of a professor played by Gary Cooper.
- It is also sung in the remake of the film, A Song Is Born, released in 1948, starring Danny Kaye.
- In Yasujirō Ozu’s 1952 film The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice (Ochazuke no Aji) the first verse is sung in a Tokyo bar by a young man who has just graduated and is about to embark on his working life.
- It was also performed as the musical theme of the classic 1951 Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film People Will Talk, delightfully "conducted" by Cary Grant . This film is a remake of the German Frauenarzt Dr. Praetorius, in which actor/director Curt Goetz performs that scene with the same music in the film based on his own play and screenplay.
- In the film Lord Love a Duck a fairly modern vocal version is sung during graduation ceremonies.
- The first few bars of the tune is used in the film People Will Talk.
- Peter Alexander sang this song in a medley in the 1963 film Der Musterknabe.
- The melody is woven through the soundtrack of Harold Lloyd's silent film "The Freshman" (1925). The melody also served as the music of the fictional school, Greenleaf High anthem, 'Hail To Thee O Greenleaf High' in the 1997 film In and Out.
- A sped up orchestral version of the song plays shortly during a scene of the characters chasing a pet pig in the 2013 film Monsters University.
- In the 2013 Dutch film Feuten: Het Feestje (nl), the song was sung to uplift spirits, after a party of the fictional student society HSV Mercurius was shut down by riot police. Singing the song made them feel proud to be a student, as they stood their ground against riot police.
This song was referenced in satirist Tom Lehrer's song "Bright College Days" in 1959 in his self-published album More of Tom Lehrer (the successor to Songs by Tom Lehrer)--as well as in the more-recent release, An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer—in the line "Turn on the spigot, pour the beer and swig it, and gaudeamus igit-ur."
In the middle section of the Alan Sherman song "Dropouts March", An Alma Mater Chorus sings the following humorous line set to that melodic piece: "Ignoramus There you are/ Sitting in your hopped-up car/ And your brains ain't up to par/ And your ears stick out too far". (Source: "Dropouts March" from the Alan Sherman album "Allan in Wonderland" from 1964.)
A fortissimo rendition of the song performed by a full symphony orchestra appears in the closing pages of Brahms' Academic Festival Overture
A performance of the first, most characteristic strophe was recorded in mid-20th century by the Italian-American tenor Mario Lanza, and is still available under the title "Gaudeamus Igitur". Lanza recorded a version of "The Student Prince" (see above). A doo wop version is available by the Escorts,[disambiguation needed] from 1962, perhaps the only doo wop song sung in Latin.
This song is on the full version of Melanie's "Stop I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore" from 1971. Not sure which men's choir sang it as it never credited on the Vinyl Album Garden in the City.
The song is referenced in the Godley & Creme song "Punchbag" from their "L" album.
In LucasArts' classic point-and-click adventure game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, the large Nazi thug Arnold sings the first line of this song before being killed by a boulder released by Indiana Jones.
In the 1996 CD-ROM game "The Muppet CD-ROM: Muppets Inside," it was given humorous computer-oriented lyrics as the anthem for the computers' CPU, here depicted as a college university. Ivy covered data walls/ Cover up our hallowed halls/ To our software we'll be true/ We'll love forever our CPU.
The first few bars of the song are used in the PopCap game BookWorm at level up or game over.
A variation of the song can be heard in various episodes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, especially when a university or student's facility is being shot.
This song is sung by many secondary schools, including:
- Fort Street High School, Sydney, Australia
Universities and Colleges
The song is sung at many universities and colleges, including:
- Jagiellonian University in Kraków at the inaugurations of academic years (in 2011 for the 648th time),
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana)
- Smith College
- Varsity College
- University of Cape Town
- University of Edinburgh Glee Club
- University of Fribourg's Dies academicus ceremonies on the 15th of November (the feast of St. Albert the Great)
- University of Glasgow graduations
- University of Illinois Men's Glee Club
- University of Indonesia graduations
- University of KwaZulu Natal
- University of Latvia, university hymn, performed during opening and graduation ceremonies
- University of Otago's Capping Show
- University of Pretoria,
- University of South Africa
- University of St Andrews graduations
- University of Vienna, during graduation ceremonies
- Victoria Institution adopted the tune to be used in the school song
- Yale Glee Club
- The Belgian fraternities in Ghent when former members of the presidium enter the cantus room
- During the procession at the University of Virginia's convocation ceremony sung by "The University Singers"
- It is used by Sydney University to both thank and solicit donors.
- It is also sung every year at the convocation and commencement ceremonies at Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
- The song is sung by the University of Johannesburg's choir at the commencement of a graduation ceremony after the academic procession has taken place and the academia are seated where after, the Chancellor of the university in their official capacity, constitutes the congregation.
- The International University Sports Federation (FISU) adopted the song as its anthem to be played during the medal-awards ceremonies and the opening ceremonies of the Universiades.
|Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|German Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gaudeamus igitur.|
- "Inactive Page". Londonmet.ac.uk. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- "Gaudeamus igitur / Brüder laßt uns lustig sein / Riemuitkaamme, vielä on free midi mp3 download Strand Hotel Sechelt bed breakfast". Ingeb.org. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "Fox Dates ‘Deadpool’ for Feb. 12, 2016 10 hours ago". IMDb. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "Uniwersytet Jagielloński - Kalendarz wydarzeń". Uj.edu.pl. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "News - The University of Sydney". Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- University of Johannesburg Graduation Ceremony Programme, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus, Thursday 6th of March 2014
- De Brevitate Vitae performed by the Roosevelt Academy Choir
- Gaudeamus Igitur, lyrics in Latin, English, German, Finnish and Esperanto, midi and mp3 recordings
- Hoisting of the FISU flag during the opening ceremonies of the XXV Summer Universiade Belgrade 2009
- Gaudeamus Igitur sung at Smith College convocation, 2008 Note the stomping and enthusiasm for the "Vivat academia!" and "Vivant professores" lines.