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Selected Motets by Josquin - Essay Example

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Summary
Josquin des Pres is one of the most highly regarded composer of his time. His career flourished during the 1500s, where his works became widely known in Western Europe. His popularity is irrefutable, as he is probably the only musician who is known by his first name…
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Selected Motets by Josquin
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Selected Motets by Josquin

Download file to see previous pages... Josquin probably born in France across the border from Hainaut (modern day Belgium) which then belonged to the Holy Roman Empire. According to the article "Josquin des Prez" which was written by Lora Matthews and Paul Merkley, and was published in The Journal Of Musicology, Summer 1998, "des Prez" was a nickname, and Josquin's family name was "Lebloitte". Josquin was often identified as a singer in the Cathedral of Milan in 1459 (Josquin des Pres 1), however, recent information reveals that Josquin did not go to Italy until the early 1480s (Josquin des Prez 3)
Some records state that he became a choirboy in the collegiate church of Saint Quentin. His very first lessons in counterpoint were probably given by Johannes Ockeghem, whom he greatly admired throughout his lifetime. This experienced at Saint Quentin are thought to be the composer's foundation of his later connections with French Royal Chapel (Josquin des Pres 4).
Josquin's first definite record of employment reveals that he was a singer at the chapel of Rene, Duke of Anjou in Aix-en Province. Scholars speculate that he may have transferred to Paris along with the rest of the chapel in 1948. Josquin became a member of the papal choir under Pope Innocent VIII. He spent the late 1490s in France probably in the service of Louis XII and probably stayed there until 1503 when Duke Ercole I of Ferrara hired him for the chapel there. Josquin was then forced to return to Italy (Josquin des Prez 5).
During his stay in Ferrara, Josquin wrote his more famous pieces such as the Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae and the setting of Misserere, Psalm 50, for five voices, widely acknowledged as one of his masterpieces. However, his stay in Ferrara lasted only for a year as he went to his hometown in Conde to evade the outbreak of the plague. He reaped immense fame in his hometown until his death in 1521 (Josquin des Prez 6).

His Compositions
Josquin's works include a variety of musical compositions ranging from masses, mass fragments, motets and chansons. From the list of his work, we can say that he is a prolific composer as he was able to write 19 masses, seven mass fragments, 60 motets, and 66 chansons (Josquin des Prez 7).


Selected Motets
A motet is a polyphonic composition based on a plain song. In fact, the Latin word for motet describes the movement of the different voices against one another. According to Margaret Bent (1997), "'a piece of music in several parts with words' is as precise a definition of the motet as will serve from the thirteenth to the late sixteenth century and beyond. This is actually very close to one of the earliest descriptions we have, that of the late thirteenth-century theorist Johannes de Grocheio (qtd. in Motet 2)."

Ave Verum
Josquin's motet, Ave Verum is typically used in the Holy Communion and Feasts of the Blessed Sacrament. As with his other musical compositions, this motet was written in Latin text (Ave Verum1).

Analysis
Set in three voices rooted in the traditional Gregorian communion hymn, this motet "paraphrases ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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