Johannes Tinctoris
Johannes Tinctoris (1435–1511), a renowned composer and the most
prominent theorist of his generation, Tinctoris based his historical evaluation on actual composers and on
works he knew. He did not rely on or even refer to the commentaries of past authorities.
In short, he trusted “the judgment of my ears” over tradition. Dictionary of Music (published
in 1473)
Martin le Franc
As early as 1442, the French poet Martin le Franc had singled
out [Binchois, Du Fay, Ockeghem, Regis, Busnois] as exemplars of what he called the contenance angloise, the
“English guise,” which he characterized as a “new way of composing with lively consonances.”
Although le Franc does not describe this style in any detail, he seems to
have been responding to a new kind of sonority, in which the music is dominated by
thirds, fifths, and sixths.
John Dunstable
it is likely he spent time in
France in the service of the Duke of Bedford, who was fighting the French in the
Hundred Years’War. If so, he would have been well situated to influence French composers.
And, indeed, almost all of his music is preserved in continental rather than
English manuscripts.
Dunstable and his followers used
these intervals in a manner that has since been described as one of panconsonance, a
harmonic idiom that makes ample use of triads (vertical alignments of three notes
whose basic pitches are separated by major or minor thirds) and limits the use of dissonance
Leonel Power
The Old Hall Manuscript contains about 150 Mass
movements and motets by Leonel Power and other
(mostly English) composers of the late 14th and early
15th centuries written in isorhythm, in English descant
style (note against note), or in the style of contemporary
He wrote entire cycles of the Mass Ordinary based on a single cantus firmus. All the movements
of Power’s Missa Alma redemptoris mater, for example, are based on the same
cantus firmus, which is stated once in its entirety in the same rhythm in the tenor (the
lowest voice) of every movement.
He served in the Household Chapel
of Thomas, Duke of Clarence, who was the brother of
Henry V. In the last decade of his life, Power was master
of the Lady Chapel Choir in Canterbury. Many of his
works are included in the Old Hall Manuscript, and his
settings of the Mass are among the earliest to use a single
cantus firmus in all movements.
Guillaume Du Fay
credited with six complete settings of the Mass
Josquin Des Prez
Josquin wrote in virtually every vocal genre of his time. He
composed some 18 Masses and 6 individual Mass movements,
almost 100 motets, and about 70 chansons, most of
which are in French, some in Italian, and others with no
text at all. These numbers are approximate because of the
uncertain status of some of the works attributed to him.
Johannes Ockeghem
fascination with canon and other elaborate structural devices is typical
of the Franco-Flemish composers who flourished in the late 15th and early 16th
Fascination with canon and other elaborate structural devices is typical
of the Franco-Flemish composers who flourished in the late 15th and early 16th
Hayne von Ghizeghem
Wrote a popular early chanson–chordal, yet with more fluid, melodic lines.
Heinrich Isaac
In his Missa carminum (“Mass of Songs”), he incorporated a whole series of German popular songs into his own setting of the Mass Ordinary.
Ottaviano Petrucci
The Venetian publisher (1466–1539) published three
books devoted exclusively to Josquin’s Masses.
Bartolomeo Tromboncino
The frottola was cultivated with greatest intensity by him and Cara. Worked in Mantua in Italy.
Marchetto (Marco) Cara
The frottola was cultivated with greatest intensity by him and Tromboncino. Worked in Mantua in Italy.
Claudin de Sermisy
Notable composer of Parisian chanson.
Pietro Bembo
a poet in his own right, championed Petrarch’s work and
urged his contemporaries to emulate Petrarch’s combination of piacevolezza (“pleasingness”)
and gravita (“seriousness” or “weight”) along with his attention to the
rhymes, rhythms, and sonorities of the Italian language.
Francesco Petrarca
a 14th century poet, whose work supplied text for many composers of Italian madrigal
Jacob Arcadelt
From the Low Countries,
he was among the earliest composers to cultivate the
Italian madrigal. He spent most of his career in
Rome and in France.
Cipriano de Rore
Monteverdi considered Rore one of
the true founders of what he called “modern music” precisely because of the way he
had shaped his compositions around the text at hand.
Born in the region of present-day Belgium, he succeeded
Willaert at San Marco in Venice in 1562. He published
eight books of madrigals in his lifetime.
Maddalena Casulana
The first professional
woman composer to see her vocal music in print.
Feminist, naturally.
She wrote madrigals.
The documentary evidence on Casulana’s life is lamentably
scant. She was composing, singing, and teaching
both music and composition in Venice in the late 1560s,
but we know little of her whereabouts in the 1570s or
1580s, and it is not known exactly when or where she
died. She is believed to have married sometime after
1570 and moved away from Venice. No known image of
her has survived.
Luca Marenzio
Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Three Ladies of Ferrara
group of extraordinarily talented singers whose performances were something of a
legend throughout musical Europe.
Hans Sachs
Meistersinger–thus, German.
Luis Milan
Published 12 villancicos in his El Maestro (Valencia, 1536), a large collection of works
for solo vihuela—a guitarlike instrument with five to seven courses of gut strings tuned
in the same manner as a lute—and for voice and vihuela.
Thomas Morley
Composer who complained about the Italian fad in England, when he himself was trying to sell his own music. A number of his madrigals were based on Italian madrigals.
John Dowland
Chief proponent of lute song.
Johann Walter
Thomas Tallis
William Byrd
Pierluigi da Palestrina
Orlande de Lassus
Antonio de Cabezon
Andrea Gabrieli
Tielman Susato
Michael Praetorius
Thoinot Arbeau