Josquin Des Prez’s musical career and works

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While he is renowned as a contemporary musician details of his life and compositions aren’t well-documented. He was regarded as one of the top composers of the Renaissance period. He has been compared to numerous other musicians of the present.

Josquin de Prez was born within the area of Conde-Sur-l’Escaut which was ruled by the Duke of Burgundy in present-day Belgium which is where he lived for the majority of his childhood as well as his the latter part of his life. There were many times Josquin was mistaken for an individual with an identical title, Josquin de Kessalia who was born around 1440 at the at the same time Josquin was born. Josquin de Kessalia was an artist who performed in Milan between 1459 and 1474, before his death in 1498.

After his father’s death in 1466, Josquin became the adopted son of his aunt and uncle; Gilles Lebloitte Dit Desprez and Jacque Banestonne, who named Josquin as their heir. His real name was Lebloitte while desprez was a name that was more enduring than his actual name. His passion for music and his innate talent were uncovered when he joined the choir at Saint-Quentin about 1460. He was also responsible for its music docket. Due to his initial idea, Saint Quentin was used to train musicians throughout the years.

Career progression

The first time he was employed was on the 19th of April 1477, as a musician in the church of Rene. The chapel was under the control of the duke of Anjou. When the chapel was closed, Rene Josquin worked for the Sforza family and then was employed at the papal chapel between 1489 and 1495. His name was recently discovered by the workers working on renovating the Sestina chapel. This was an obvious sign that he had worked in that chapel at some point in the past. Writing one’s name in the wall of the chapel was standard procedure during the 15 to 18 up to the 18 the century. In contrast to the 21 century, century, where celebrities and celebrities are signed by their signatures, the Josquin era did not have this technique and therefore his name carved on the wall is his only known signature. By 1497, he was in his place at the French courts which was the residence of Charles VIII and Louis XII however he was not working for the royal family.

Between April 1503 until March 1504, Josquin is thought to be employed by the duke Ercole I d’este of Ferrara in Ferrara as Maestro di Capella. He returned in 1504 and was appointed by Conde as the provost of Conde cathedral, a post believed to have been arranged in the name of Phillip the fair duke of Burgundy and the king of Castile.

Josquin fame and his success appear to be the primary cause of the numerous mistakes in his work. Josquin was a household name, even used by printers in the early days to advertise their products. This was further made worse through Martin Luther when he publicly declared his admiration of Josquin’s songs. This was a trigger and gave permission for Martin Luther’s followers to include Josquin’s name in the majority of their work as they could. In fact, some of his compositions were deemed anonymous and given to him as a way to increase sales.

He was greatly influenced by Ockeghem who he greatly respected throughout his entire life. The inspiration continued until Ockeghem’s passing in which he wrote his own tune to honor his memory. The song was called “nymphes of bois/requiem aeterman,” inspired by the poem of Jean Molinet. At the time of Josquin’s birth it was the custom of French ladies and lords to take the estates of people who died. To prevent this, Josquin asked for the registration of his name to be done as a foreigner in order to protect his assets. This is a clear indication it is clear that Josquin was French at birth.

While he may be credited for his contribution to the evolution of the music genres of his time, but he was not able to achieve this by himself, but with the assistance by other performers. But, he was also the head of these contemporary groups, which is perhaps why for his large share of praise. The new style introduced by Josquin and his peers made use of voice pairs in a fugue-like imitation as the main compositional technique. They created the method of using all four voices which is often called the set peace of in the present. He followed in the tradition of composers prior to but his approach was quite different. In contrast to his predecessors who included all of the vocal parts singing at once, Josquin invented a method that allowed the voices to sing in succession. As was the custom for composers of the Renaissance mass to compose music to accompany the normal mass by using a phrase taken that is a chant, referred to known as a ‘cantus firmus”, Josquin wrote eighteen different variations of the Mass.

As with every previous compositionist, Josquin had a keen desire to make sure that there was a consistent arrangement of harmony. The secular docket of music Josquin as well as his cohorts ruled the finalization of the medieval fixed styles of French chansons, and the beginning of a more simple style, as well as the reemergence of Italian text-based part songs.

Josquin is well-known for his creation of masses chants. His masses were numerous and yet, it is surprising that they are being used today.

He not only composed sacred music, but he also had a knack for creating secular songs, like Frotolla that he may be composing while working in Ferrara. While in Ferrara and living in Milan Josquin had taken in the influence of the light Italian secular music, which was a part of his compositions when composing his own. In contrast, during his time in Rome he honed his understanding with gospel songs.

In his last days in Ferrara He composed a tune addressed to the King to keep the promise he made to Josquin and the song was entitled ” memorisso verbi tui servio tuo” that is Latin meaning’remember the promise that you had made your servant. According to the words of his song, the king kept the promise, and it was from this point that Josquin quit Ferrara. Then he wrote another song that was intended to thank the king keeping his promise. It is clear that during throughout his life Josquin changed places and location frequently. In Ferrara, Josquin wrote some of his most well-known compositions, including ‘Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae’ or perhaps ‘Virgo Salutiferi’. ‘austere misererere”, which was one of the more well-known songs from the 16 16th century is also believed that it was composed in the time of this. His time in Ferrara was only brief, because of a plague that struck the region, leading to the evacuation of the family of the duke as well as a third the inhabitants.

After escaping the plague, Josquin immediately returned to his native region of Conde-sur-l’Escaut located south of Lille in the current frontier that separates Belgium and France in which he established a major musical establishment at the Church of Notre-Dame that he supervised until his demise.

The final 20 years of his existence may be considered as the most productive in his life. The invention of printing technology allowed him to broadcast his music.

Total works

His works in total, as secular and sacred are way beyond any imagination. There are thirty total masses believed to be Josquin’s, 17 of which were printed by Petrucci , and sold throughout the globe. Although some of his printed works are not certain, all of his manuscripts produced by Petrucci are believed to be genuine. A majority of his work is found in libraries of Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Basle as well as in the archives of the pope’s chorus in Rome. This is a clear indication the fact that Josquin is an accomplished artist as well as musician whose work transcended the borders of his home town and spread across the globe.

“Missa Ave. Maris Stella’ and Missa Pange Lingua’ are considered to be among the best of Josquins masses that are used to the present day, particularly by acapella vocal ensembles. The majority of his songs are subject to changes and are being reprinted by other artists like Forkel, Burney, Hawkins, Busby and Choron.

Analysis of personal characteristics

Josquin is described as a man with an independent mind. This is evident in the fact that in 1503, when the Duke Ercole 1 of Ferrara wanted to employ Josquin one of the assistants to the Duke advised the duke’s assistant Heinrich Isaac be hired in place of Josquin. He justified his suggestions with the claim that Heinrich was more easy to be around and more willing to compose music at will. He also was less expensive in terms of the cost of music production. This is a clear indication how Josquin was not the most popular due to his ability to stand his beliefs and was a strong-minded individual.

Josquin was also extremely analytical. He was always certain of the correct buttons to push to obtain what he wanted. When he was in France in the year 1500, he composed a tune called’memoresto verbi tui servio tuo it was a song that was addressed to the King to fulfill the promise he made to Josquin. And true to his words, the king was able to keep his word. Even in the early days, Josquin was conscious that music had power, and used it to fulfill his ambitions.

According to the historical records available of Josquin the Josquin was a hard-working man. Much of his life is recorded in the context of his work background. His music was composed when he worked for one firm or another. The majority of employees he worked with were politicians, or what could be described as political leaders of the day. If it wasn’t an emperor in France or a prince, it would have been a Duke of Ferrara.

Additionally, Josquin is described as an individual who took initiative. When he was a young man of 1460 Josquin had already been a singer at Saint-Quentin in which he was granted the privilege of directing the docket for music. When he left and moved back to his hometown of Conde-sur-l’Escaut He established a huge music group that was his responsibility until his demise.


The music industry was not as well-known as Josquin in his day. His talent and uniqueness surpassed the rest of the musicians. It was his own ability to connect the various streams of modern music that captured the hearts of the majority of his admirers. He was so well-known that he chose to use his baptismal name solely for his name to present himself.

In the years that followed, he was extremely sought-after to write as well as perform more often than the other musicians of the time. His fame lasted well past his death to the point that musicians still used his style of composition to create their music. However, his popularity did not seem to last long as the time approached the Baroque time period that resulted in the demise in the style known as polyphonic.

Incredibly, little is known about the man who introduced the revival to the world of music. While his music continues to influence the world throughout the globe for more than five centuries, few musicians are aware of its source and the man who composed it.


Unexpectedly, there isn’t much documentation about the most well-known musicians, especially those who were in the 21 century. century. To learn about them, it requires the patching of information from several sources that sometimes provide different information. The students get a mixed idea of the true value of the individual.

In addition, the issue is exacerbated by the resemblance in the names of the earlier artists. This means that the 21 century century people trying to piece together data could be deceived If they are not cautious. It is quite late to correct this issue. It is due to the fact that the legends that witnessed that these significant performers are no longer around. This is an issue in the 21 century. century in which, even while technology is improving, the information gathered on most famous individuals is contradictory. Yet the idea of autobiographies and biographies is a great way to reduce this problem.

If you compare the compositions made prior to the 21 century century with the ones currently being made, there is an enormous difference. While the art and music generally of past had a message to convey however, the music and art of today are known to employ words that do not work and could be classified as lacking educational themes. Perhaps this is that is why music enthusiasts still rely on older musicians for help. Present musicians are just interested in rhyming the lyrics and do not care if they are delivering an significant information or otherwise. It is often said that the true music lovers or those who appreciate the real meaning of music are the ones who are devoted to the music of classical era. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the amount of indecency which has shook the music industry today. While parents are able to watch music videos from the past times with their children however, the videos that are of 21 century century are not suitable to viewing with family members.

To conclude, to eliminate the issue of not having sufficient and precise information on notable people who have contributed to history, the initial steps to recording their achievements and past should be taken while they’re still alive. This is possible through such things as the writing of autobiographies and biographies aswell in creating websites that acknowledge their achievements and accomplishments in their lives. With this information, perhaps the next generation of musicians will be able to find examples to copy and help bring their music business to what it ought to be.

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