General German Kommersbuch

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Title page of the first edition of the General German Kommersbuch

The Allgemeine Deutsche Kommersbuch (ADK, also Lahrer Kommersbuch or Lahrerbibel ) is the best-known Kommersbuch (song book for use in student bars ) in Germany. It was first published in 1858 and reached its 166th edition in 2013 . It is the most frequently published songbook in the German-speaking world. In its latest, greatly expanded edition, it again contains over 700 songs, including mainly student and folk songs .

The ADK is bound by hand especially for the customer and equipped according to the customer's wishes, for example bound in leather, provided with beer nails , provided with a circle of connection and with a color cut. The resulting different outputs are traditionally spelled out to differentiate.

The ADK was published by the Moritz Schauenburg publishing house in Lahr until 1999 . It has been published by Morstadt Verlag in Kehl since 2000 .


Title page of the student songs from 1781

Originally, student songs were only passed on orally or by hand. The oldest known collection is the Niederrheinische Liederhandschrift (1574). The first printed, purely student songbook was written by Christian Wilhelm Kindleben . He published the student songs in Halle in 1781. The current version of Gaudeamus igitur was printed there for the first time. However, Kindleben was unsuccessful with the book. It contained too much that was offensive for the time, so it was confiscated and Kindleben was expelled from Halle.

In the spirit of the Wars of Liberation and with the founding of the original fraternity, Kommers books spread more and more. In 1825 Ferdinand August Serig brought out the selection of German songs , which was deliberately held as a fraternity , and which soon became a standard work. From the 4th edition of 1836, however, there were hardly any changes and the "Serig" lost its importance again.

In 1843, Hermann Schauenburg, together with Rudolf Löwenstein and Justus Wilhelm Lyra, published the book Deutsche Lieder and their melodies in Leipzig by Robert Friese. Due to the success of this so-called “Leipziger Commersbuch”, the “Serig” was finally ousted.


After a few years Hermann Schauenburg was persuaded to create a new Kommersbuch based on the German songs . Moritz Schauenburg had founded a publishing house in Lahr and so the two brothers got together. The composers and music educators Friedrich Silcher and Friedrich Erk were won over for the musical editing .

Signature of Wolfgang von Goethe in a first edition

The German songs were not simply reissued, but all German universities were contacted to find out which were the most popular songs among the students. The result was published in 1858 for the 300th anniversary of the University of Jena as the General German Commers Book . The success was so great that the 4th extended edition appeared within a year. In this, the publishers ask for patience, since at the time of printing almost the entire edition had already been reserved and the 5th edition was announced as an unchanged reprint.

In order to adapt to the times, the book has been divided into two parts. The main part was to remain unchanged and contained the most important national, folk and student songs in three sections. The appendix, which already included 73 songs in the first edition, should include lesser-known or regional songs that were mentioned less often in the answers of the universities and for which one was not quite sure whether they would be included in the following editions would. This division was made mainly in order to be able to use the printing plates of the main part for a long time and kept them, with only a few changes, until the 24th edition in 1880.

After Hermann Schauenburg's death in 1876, Ludwig Eichrodt took over the editorial office the following year. For the 25th edition in 1882 he rearranged the entire content. 52 songs were not taken over from the old main part (for the time being), 25 from the appendix. 163 new songs were added. Although the 26th edition appeared in the following year, the demand for the anniversary edition seems to have been so great that until 1885 the so-called 2nd, 3rd and 4th copies of the 25th edition were published. In terms of content, however, they corresponded to the 26th edition of 1883, which had been expanded by 6 songs. Then another 26th edition (1886) was published, which had again been revised, but - apart from the title picture - did not change until the 50th edition (approx. 1895).

From 1893 Eduard Heyck continued the General German Kommersbuch up to the time of National Socialism . The ADK experienced its greatest successes under him. On average, 3 editions were printed per year, so that after the 54th individual editions were combined. Only the 75th and 100th anniversary editions were printed individually. With regard to the latter, Heyeck found that, after more than 50 years since the first edition, the older editions could hardly be found. In order to create something more permanent, a gift edition limited to 1000 pieces was issued in addition to the normal edition.

On the anniversary of the 100th edition of the Allgemeine Deutsche Kommersbuch, the Moritz Schauenburg publishing house issued a limited special edition (shown next to an H edition)
Editions of the General German Kommersbuch
Edition Appearance
year 1
number 2
Number of
song numbers 3
1. 1858 444 389 Edited by Hermann Schauenburg and Moritz Schauenburg, musical editing: Friedrich Silcher and Friedrich Erk
2. probably unmarked reprints of the first edition
4th 1859 477 456 Very improved edition, digitized version of the Bavarian State Library in the Google book search
5. 1859 477 456 unchanged edition; Lahr, M. Schauenburg & C. / Leipzig, G. E. Schulze; Jena anniversary commers book for the 300th foundation festival of the university
0.6.1. 1861 562 536 Badly incorrect with wrong page numbers and 16 songs in the table of contents, which have been deleted since the 5th edition
0.6.2. 1861 578 549 Corrected, expanded edition, with the anniversary cover picture of the 5th edition, digitized version of the Austrian National Library in the Google book search
7th 1862 578 549 with anniversary cover picture of the 5th edition
8th. 1862 578 549 Lahr, M. Schauenburg & C.
9. 1863 578 549 with anniversary cover picture of the 5th edition, ( Munich Digitization Center of the Bavarian State Library )
10. 1865 578 549 or earlier
11. 1867 578 549 with anniversary cover picture of the 5th edition, ( digitized version of the University and State Library Düsseldorf )
12. 1869 578 549
13. 1870 584 560
14th 1871 624 621
15th 1872 624 621
16. 1873 624 621 Strasbourg, M. Schauenburg, 4 new songs for the “ Opening Ceremony of the University of Strasbourg ” added after the table of contents, digitized version of the Bavarian State Library in the Google book search
17th 1874 628 625 Strasbourg, M. Schauenburg (M Fr. Silcher and Ms. Erk), the 4 Strasbourg songs have been added to the regular appendix
18th 1877 628 625 continued by Ludwig Eichrodt
20th 1877 628 625
21st 1877 628 625
22nd 1878 628 625 increased by the Lachner melodies for V. von Scheffel's songs
23. 1879 628 625 increased by the Lachner melodies for V. von Scheffel's songs
24. 1880 628 625
0.25.1. 1882 696 695 Anniversary edition, completely revised (77 songs deleted and 168 new ones recorded), the division into a fixed main part and a variable appendix, which had existed since the first edition, was abandoned
0.26.1. 1883 704 701 Appendix with 6 new songs
0.25.2. 1883 704 701 Anniversary edition, second impression
0.25.3. 1884 704 701 Anniversary edition, third impression
0.25.4. 1884/85 704 701 Anniversary edition, fourth imprint
0.26.2. 1886 716 709 partly with adapted cover picture for the 500th anniversary of Heidelberg University August 1886
27. 1886 716 709 with anniversary cover picture of the 26th edition from 1886
28. 1886 716 709
29 1886 716 709 with anniversary cover picture of the 26th edition from 1886
30th 1886 716 709 alternative cover picture with cityscape of Heidelberg
31. 1888 716 709 with anniversary cover picture of the 26th edition from 1886
32. 1888 716 709
33. 1888 716 709 Issues either with the anniversary cover picture of the 26th edition from 1886 or an alternative cover picture with a city view of Heidelberg
34. 1888 716 709 Issues either with the anniversary cover picture of the 26th edition from 1886 or an alternative cover picture with a city view of Heidelberg
35. 1888 716 709
36. 1889 716 709 alternative cover picture with cityscape of Heidelberg
37. 1890 716 709
38. 1890 716 709 alternative cover picture with cityscape of Heidelberg
39. 716 709 alternative cover picture with cityscape of Heidelberg
40. 1891 716 709
41. 1891 716 709
42. 1891 716 709 with both a classic boat scene and an alternative cover picture with a city view of Heidelberg
43. 716 709
44. 1893 716 709 continued by Eduard Heyck
45. 1893 716 709 Digitized by the Duchess Anna Amalia Library , Weimar
46. 716 709
47. 716 709
48. 716 709
49. 716 709
50. 716 709
51. 1896 735 811 or afterwards , new processing, etc. a. Songs with the melodies of Otto praise received, I sit at the full glass twice reprinted from 53rd at the latest once Come into our beautiful dance replaced
53. 735 811
54. 735 811
55th-58th 735 811 in Wikisource added
59–62. 735 811
63–66 1898 735 811 Special edition with color illustr. Ln.-Ibid.
67–68 735 811
69th-70th 735 811
71–74. 1904 735 811 or earlier
75. 1906 752 832
76-80. 1907 752 832
81–85. 1909 752 832
86–90. 768 850
91-95. 1909 768 850
96-99 1912 768 850 Dedication from Christmas 1912
100. 1914 760 821 In addition to the regular edition, a large-format special edition, limited to 1000 pieces and numbered, was published in an all-leather cover with ornamental blind embossing and gold-embossed title on the spine, gilt edge punched on three sides, two-color printing and a special illustration.
101-110 1914 760 821
111-114 1919 760 821
115-120. 1920 760 821 3 songs exchanged
121-126. 1922 760 821
127-135. 1925 745 803 supported by Alfred Schlenker and Hans Joachim Moser
136-138. 1926 745 803
139-141. 1928 745 803
142-143. 1928 745 803
144-150. 1929 686 739
151 1953 525 488 continued by Walther Haas
152-153. 1956 525 505
154-155. 1958 525 505
156. 1963 543 495
157. 1970 543 continued by Erdmann Werner Böhme
158. 1974 543
159. 1976 543
160. 1978-1996 543 491 also "unchanged reprint 1990" or "unchanged reprint 1992"
161. 2000 543 491 Edited from 2000 by Morstadt Verlag [1863] in Kehl am Rhein by Michael Foshag
162. 2004 543 491
163. 2005 543 491
164. 2007 543 491
165. 2008 780 716 150 years of general German Kommersbuch - completely revised, expanded edition, 780 pages [previously 544 pages], ISBN 978-3-88571-336-4 . Expansion of the content from 450 to over 700 songs by recording new songs with regional references, to German university cities and contemporary songs. Adaptation of the pitches to today's needs. Guitar harmonies. Table of contents with page concordance to 160. – 164. Edition. There was a special edition of ~ 80 pieces for the anniversary summer on November 15, 2008 at Lahr.
166. 2013 780 716
1 estimated years in italics
2 Last page of the table of contents, blank pages or self-promotion by the publisher not counted
3 up to the 150th edition, the songs were numbered, up to the 25th each section had its own number - the number of numbers sometimes deviates from the songs actually contained (see below)


Each edition of the General German Kommersbuch is structured according to the same scheme. At the beginning there is the color lithograph of the Rhine section by Caspar Scheuren (1857) as the front title. This is followed by the title page with the name, the reference to the first musical editors Friedrich Silcher and Friedrich Erk, followed by the number of the edition (from 151. one page further), publisher name and place. The year is not given in all editions. After the title page there is sometimes a foreword to current or previous editions. The dedication of the original constitution to Ernst Moritz Arndt and his answer (from the 6th edition as a facsimile ) are present in every edition. This is followed by the song part and the table of contents. At the end, advertisements from the publisher were sometimes added or several blank pages were left with space for dedications, individual songs or additional stanzas.

cover photo

The original frontispiece is by Caspar Scheuren and shows students on a boat trip on the Rhine. In particular, the framing elements were repeatedly changed in the various editions.

In the meantime, a view of Heidelberg was used as the cover picture.

Boat trip

The central element is an image of partying students on a boat with mountains in the background. Above it is a goblet decorated with flowers and ribbons in front of crossed Parisians , on which a putti sits. To the left and right of it are two medals, the edge of which was provided with text for special occasions. Below each - next to the title - the two original musical editors Silcher and Erk were immortalized. Below the boat scene is an eagle with a coat of arms and a wreath in front of two other Parisians. This variant was used as the cover picture from the 1st to at least the 34th and again from the 42nd edition.

Some details have been redesigned again and again:

  • In the course of the 51st edition, the spelling of Commersbuch on the cover picture was changed from C to K. This took place on the cover sheet in the 26th edition from 1886.
  • The title has been given different degrees of curlicue .
  • The two medals in the upper part of the picture were labeled with congratulations on special occasions:
    • “Jenaer Jubiläums Commersbuch” on the left and “To the 300th anniversary of the foundation festival 15-17. Aug. 1858 "right in the 5th to 11th edition,
    • "25. Edition "or" Jubilee Edition "only in the first impression from 1882 and
    • "For the 500th anniversary" or "Heidelberg University August 1886" (26th (1886) to at least 34th edition).
  • The decorated cup in the upper part contains two crossed Parisians, whose blades are pale (up to 25th edition, 4th imprint) or not at all afterwards.
  • From the 25th edition, 4th imprint, the shadows that the sun would cast in this scene are hatched . This can be seen in particular on the faces of the student at the bow and the helmsman at the stern, as well as the backs of the students looking towards the bank.
  • Up to the 24th edition, the sun is shown somewhat larger than in later editions, so that the pipe of the student standing in the middle covers it partially. In the editions from 1882 to 1884, the sun was completely absent - the sky was partly cloudy.
  • The student with the raised glass drinks red wine in some copies up to the 20th edition, otherwise white wine.
  • The eagle with the shield in the lower part
    • sometimes has two heads (up to the 15th and from the 151st edition), in the time in between he only had one head,
    • is gray with a large beak (up to the 25th edition, 4th imprint), then black with the tongue out.
    • The wings are spread out up to the 34th edition and from the 42nd edition they tend to hang.
    • The sign has been reduced twice (from the 42nd and again from the 151st edition).
    • The sign gives the place and name of the publisher, with the exception of the 16th and 17th editions, where, on the occasion of the “ reopening of the University of Strasbourg ” after the Franco-German War, “Strasbourg” is written instead of “Lahr”. Sometimes the year of publication is given (up to the 6th edition), the first name Moritz is abbreviated and a & Co is given (up to the 11th edition).
  • Couleur ribbon is wrapped around the cup and the wreath surrounding the eagle
    • colorless up to the 7th edition,
    • then partly with the German or the Prussian colors according to Jena reading (from bottom to top),
    • from the 25th edition, 4th imprint probably with pink-white-moss-green of the fraternity Franconia Freiburg around the cup and blue-white-red around the wreath,
    • from the 151st edition again with black-red-gold (front).


The alternative cover picture shows Heidelberg Castle and Heidelberg Old Town . A similar scene with students as in the original variant is added below. In the lower third are portraits of Ernst Moritz Arndt on the left and Joseph Victor von Scheffel on the right . This variant was used at least from the 29th to the 42nd edition and contains a decorated cup similar to the other variant, but the blades are shown very wide.

1st edition (1858)
11th edition (approx. 1867)
16th edition (approx. 1873)
25th edition 1st impression (1882)
31st edition (1886)
38th edition (1890) variant B
55-58 Edition (approx. 1897)
151st edition


Hermann Schauenburg recognized that it is absolutely necessary for the success of a Kommersbuch to be up to date. Therefore the compilation of the songs in the Lahrer Kommersbuch has been adjusted several times. While the main part of the first 24 editions remained almost unchanged, there was a constant change in the appendix from the beginning.

Well-known and popular songs (128 in total) such as Gaudeamus igitur , Ergo bibamus or O old Burschenherrlichkeit are included in all 166 editions. Other songs that were newly recorded, but could not prevail (68 in total), on the other hand, were thrown out again the next time the artwork was changed. Over 1600 different songs were printed in the Allgemeine Deutsche Kommersbuch over the years. The following table gives an impression of the changes:

Songs in the General German Kommersbuch
Edition 1..3 4..5 6.1 6.2..12 13 14-15 16..24 25.1 26.1..25.4 26.2..50 51..74 75..85 86..99 100..114 115..126 127..143 144-150 151 152-153 154-155 156 157 158 159 160..164 165..166
Number of songs 387 456 536 549 564 621 625 712 718 729 814 834 853 832 832 818 746 488 505 505 495 491 490 490 491 716
new songs 71 96 13 24 57 4th 164 6th 27 275 20th 19th 83 4th 31 98 81 49 7th 28 29 8th 1 15th 278
canceled songs 2 16 0 9 0 0 77 0 16 190 0 0 104 4th 45 171 338 32 7th 38 33 9 1 14th 53
unique songs 1 8th 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 1 0 4th 47 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 153


Web links

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