Gilles de Binche (called Binchois), also known as Gilles de Bins (ca. 1400 – 20 September 1460), was a Franco-Flemish composer, one of the earliest members of the Burgundian School, and one of the three most famous composers of the early 15th century. While often ranked behind his contemporaries Guillaume Dufay and John Dunstaple, at least by contemporary scholars, his influence was arguably greater than either, since his works were cited, borrowed and used as source material more often than those by any other composer of the time.
Binchois was probably from Mons, the son of Jean and Johanna de Binche, who may have been from the nearby town of Binche. His father was a councillor to Duke Guillaume IV of Hainault, and also had a position in a church in Mons. Nothing is known about Gilles until 1419, when he became organist at the church of Ste. Waudru in Mons. In 1423 went to live in Lille. Around this time he may have been a soldier in the service of the Burgundians, or perhaps the English Earl of Suffolk, as indicated by a line in the memorial motet written on his death by Ockeghem.
Sometime near the end of the 1420s he joined the court chapel of Burgundy, and by the time of his motet Nove cantum melodie (1432) he was evidently a singer there, since the text of the motet itself lists all 19 singers.
He retired to Soignies, evidently with a substantial pension for his long years of excellent service to the Burgundian court.
Music and influence 
Binchois is often considered to be the finest melodist of the 15th century, writing carefully shaped lines which are easy to sing, and utterly memorable. His tunes appeared in copies decades after his death, and were often used as sources for mass composition by later composers. Most of his music, even his sacred music, is simple and clear in outline, sometimes even ascetic; a greater contrast between Binchois and the extreme complexity of the ars subtilior of the previous century would be hard to imagine. Most of his secular songs are rondeaux, which became the most common song form during the century. Binchois, however, rarely wrote in strophic form, but instead shaped his melody independently of the verse's rhyme scheme.
Binchois wrote music for the court, secular songs of love and chivalry, music that was expected by the Dukes of Burgundy and that was evidently loved by them.
- David Fallows, "Gilles Binchois," The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1-56159-174-2
- Gustave Reese, Music in the Renaissance. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. ISBN 0-393-09530-4
- "Binchois Studies", Edited by Andrew Kirkman and Dennis Slavin. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 2000.
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