Josquin des Prez

(ca. 1440-ca. 1521)

Career Summary


Early motets:  Milan (1459-ca. 79)

Middle motets:  Rome (ca. 1480-1504)

Middle/Late motets

In Praetor rerum seriem: tenor & superius alternate phrases of text

Late motets


  1. some stated in "classical" manner, but generally more of a complex plan involved; 
  2. CF associated with a text different from that sung by other voices;  
  3. sometimes alludes to secular melody; 
  4. ostinatos, free or strict; canonic cantus firmi; 
  5. some support counterpoint "in a luxurious way", others integrated into texture;  variety of CF techniques did not restrict Josquin
  1. technique does not influence structure; 
  2. chant as a repository for melodic ideas; 
  3. fragments for points of imitation; 
  4. motives dominate sections;  
  5. variation-chain sequence;  
  6. also merely alludes to chant
  1. liturgy ( prescribed for Mass or Canonical Hours);  
  2. Biblical; prayers, devotional poetry, songs of praise, addressed to or in honor of Christ or the Virgin Mary


1) Cantus Firmi (largest group)
2) paraphrases of pre-existing melody
3) two organized around cycles of canons (Missa Ad fugam, Missa Sine nomine)

Cantus Firmus Mass

  1. Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae 
  2. Missa La sol fa re mi  ("Lass far a mi")