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Christmas carol
English "He whom the shepherds praised"
Full "Quem pastores laudavere"
Genre Christmas carol
Language Latin

"Quempas" is the shortened title of the Latin Christmas carol "Quem pastores laudavere" ("He whom the shepherds praised"), popular in Germany in the sixteenth century, and used as a generic term for Christmas songs in a German caroling tradition.[1]

The earliest sources of the carol are from the fifteenth century, including the Hohenfurth Monastery Ms. 28 (1410). Many versions exist from the sixteenth century. The most famous version is from Michael Praetorius, Musae Sioniae (1607), with the German text "Den die Hirten lobeten sehre."[2]

Students of the Latin school maintained a tradition of "Quempas singen," earning alms by going to each house and singing carols.[1]

"Quempasheft" is the name of the collection of Christmas songs used. Originally, each student copied their own collection.[1] In 1930, Wilhelm Thomas and Konrad Ameln published a collection under the title Das Quempas-Heft from Bärenreiter-Verlag in order to restart the Quempas singen tradition.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Quempas". In L. Root, Deane. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ Evangelisches Gesangbuch., Hessen edition, Frankfurt 1994. Lied No. 29.
  3. ^ Heinz Grosch, Johannes Thomas: THOMAS, Wilhelm. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Vol. 29, Bautz, Nordhausen 2008, ISBN 978-3-88309-452-6, Sp. 1425–1433.