Talk:Josquin des Prez

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Flemish name (!???)[edit]

What is this business about his name being a French rendering of a Flemish name (a French rendering of Dutch "Josken van de Velde", diminutive of "Joseph van de Velde" ("of the fields")? I know this is a typical "flamingant" type of claim but please provide reliable sources that he was Flemish and that this "Josken van de Velde" is not a Flemish rendering of his French name, with no importance in an English page).

Even the Dutch page does not pretend such thing : "Josquin Des Prez (verm. nabij Saint-Quentin, na 1450 - Condé-sur-l'Escaut, 27 augustus 1521) was een Bourgondische componist uit Condé-sur-l'Escaut. Zijn naam wordt ook gespeld als Des Prés, Després en Desprez. Hij wordt wel de voornaamste componist van de Renaissance genoemd. Hij was vooral werkzaam in Frankrijk en ook enkele jaren in Italië."

2004 discussion[edit]

Are we going to list/discuss his more famous/influential works at some stage - eg (Masses):- Missa Pange Lingua, Missa de Beata Virgine, the two l'homme arme settings... Linuxlad 23:25, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Actually I have major expansion of this article on my to-do list, but go ahead and start if you like! There's a huge amount of information that still needs to go in. I wrote a little about his Pange Lingua mass at the Pange Lingua page.Antandrus 00:13, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Your pange lingua entry reads well, and I shall leave matters in your capable hands :-) (incidentally I've set up a redirect for l'homme arme to cantus firmus for the time being).

It would be nice to revise the bit about his fame having been overshadowed by Palestrina - (a very 19th century RC perspective?) Linuxlad 08:47, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes, there's still some of that everything-before-Palestrina-wasn't-yet-perfect POV in the article from the original Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) entry. I think there's no question Josquin's fame has steadily risen since 1908, especially versus Palestrina (think of the parallel example of Telemann and Bach--the Telemann article used to be longer than the Bach article in turn of the century encyclopedias, and now the reverse is the case). Hey, it's really great to see someone else interested in Josquin! Antandrus 16:05, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
OK, I tried to abolish most of that 1908 POV; I hope I got it right. There's still a lot more than can be written about this guy (more details on his pieces, for example). His position as one who brought together so many trends, but yet innovated, and could express emotion using such economical means, reminds me more of J.S. Bach than any other figure in music history. Antandrus 03:50, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Nice addition.
'...between de Machaut & Palestrina'. Some might consider that Dufay runs him a close second, and was as influential?

Linuxlad 09:56, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, yes, now that you mention it. Considering that the Franco-Flemish style started with the Burgundians, and Dufay was the guiding force as well as the most polished composer there ... :-) Antandrus 15:54, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)


The name of the article, and the name in the introduction, differs. Should the article be moved, or the name changed in the beginning? Ornilnas 18:36, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

The article should probably be moved. There will be some double redirects to fix. (I'm a little amazed it stayed upper case as long as it did.) Antandrus (talk) 21:26, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
It hasn't been moved, but the introduction has been edited...Ornilnas 09:13, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Mille Regretz[edit]

This is not listed in chanson, but the 4v version, if not the tune, is usually credited to Josquin. Nay-sayers please shout before I add. Linuxlad 15:20, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

There were earlier settings and later (eg Suzato). But Josquin's is the best! When you look at the music, it seems very sparse and simple but the effect is spine-tingling. Just my POV of course! Bluewave 15:50, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

It's one of the most hauntingly beautiful tunes of the time, and one can see why so many other composers used it for mass settings and so forth. That's my POV of course ... do you have the Hilliard recording? Antandrus (talk) 21:28, 8 October 2006 (UTC) Yes! Bob aka Linuxlad 21:45, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

His name, and article title[edit]

In case anyone is watching this: I'm having some trouble finding other sources that have his name exactly as Josquin Des Prez. Josquin Desprez and Josquin des Prez seem to be the most common (the 2001 Grove has the latter; the 1980 Grove the former). Books recently published (for example, Patrick Macey's Bonfire Songs, Savonarola's Musical Legacy) almost all use the lower case des Prez. Any objection, or preference, to my moving this to one or the other, and fixing the redirects? Antandrus (talk) 16:46, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Probably a few of us Josquin enthusiasts watching! I'd vote for "Josquin des Prez" but don't feel strongly about it (as long as the variants all redirect). Bluewave 21:16, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
That was my thought as well when I first saw this page, but I was new back then :) Perhaps we should use his name as he may have signed it on the Papal chapel wall, "Josquinj" </tongue removed from cheek> I would prefer "des Prez", but it looks (from a google search) like in English Desprez is a bit more common, but in this case I think we should go with the more current scholarship rather than the mere tide of google hits. (of course, there is surely no "right" way, because those silly guys never spelled their names the same way twice) Mak (talk) 03:12, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
I remember in school a composer friend of mine showed me a library copy of a collected works volume. The cover was blank except the spine, which read simply "DES PREZ". "Great," he said, "so when I die I'm gonna be known as 'From Bethesda.' " —Turangalila talk 17:03, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Recording sample?[edit]

Hey people... I have great recordings of Josquin's Missa Pange Lingua (both the Kyrie and the Gloria sections). If someone could tell me how to upload them I'd be happy to add them to the page if you'd like. Also, I was reading the name debate at the bottom of the page; I've seen it mostly spelled Desprez (this is from my college textbooks), but I think that any of the spellings you mentioned are considered acceptable... Scotsman24 06:50, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Where are the recordings from? Wikipedia can basically only use freely-licensed content. Desprez seems like a slightly older-fashioned (late-19th, early 20th century) spelling. Cheers, Mak (talk) 23:57, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
My recordings are from a compilation made by Bedford/St. Martin's to accompany a music textbook. I bet they are licensed to some record company... so we probably couldn't use them (at least not the whole recordings - I think a short section of each is acceptable, but I am still familiarizing myself with the rules for posting material). I am able to edit recordings for length if need be. Scotsman24 00:48, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


That picture is labelled as a woodcut, yet it appears to be an etching. Can anyone find a source for which medium it is?

Patrick Macey, from section 8 of the article in the online New Grove. "...the well-known woodcut of Josquin was almost certainly copied from a panel portrait in oil that once stood in the church of Ste Gudule, Brussels..." It is sourced in the article: Note 1 leads to "Macey, Grove, section 8." Antandrus (talk) 22:38, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Rating – FA Candidate?[edit]

I rated this as "A" class, but I felt like making it an "FA" unilaterally. I'm still newish and I'm not sure how the process runs, but this article should be on an FA track, either through Bio Peer Review or elsewhere. Excellent. Informative, concise, well sourced, illustrated, organized. I think it's a model article all around.

I did enter "yes" to "needs infobox" in the template. I think perhaps an infobox would be useful, though looking around I can't find any pre-baroque composers who have one. The design of Infobox musical artist template is much better suited for Mariah Carey than great composers of any era. I did notice that Hildegard of Bingen uses Infobox Biography. I'll leave it to those who have made this article as good as it is, to decide if an infobox would actually help it. (moot) [copied this from "comment" page]--Turangalila (talk) 14:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Flag of Austria?[edit]

I don't know a lot about European history of the time, but why is the Austrian flag next to Hainaut for his birth? It seems to be in Belgium now, but did the Austrian empire stretch that far in those days?Bruxism 07:50, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I've chopped both of those flags - the French tricolour was anachronistic too. (I believe Hainaut was part of the Holy Roman Empire at the time).--Folantin 09:32, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Condé sur-l'Escaut was Habsburg-owned when Josquin died. It was a French-speaking area within the area historically controlled by the Dukes of Burgundy; other parts of Hainaut I think were Flemish-speaking, so it's a confusing situation. At the end of his life Josquin had to indicate that he was a "foreigner" for reasons related to his will, which is why he is considered to be French-born, even though "France" didn't exist then in the modern sense. Antandrus (talk) 17:45, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

"Music and influence" v. "Influence"[edit]

Just noticed that the second & third "==" level headers are currently titled Music and influence and Influence. Should Influence be demoted a level? or should Music and influence be shortened to just Music? or perhaps should one or the other be re-titled? I'm not sure. —Turangalila talk 17:16, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Yeh, ooops. I just fixed it. I must have broken out "influence" at one point and forgot to remove the word from the other header. I think it should be its own section (not a subsection under "music"). Antandrus (talk) 17:42, 13 April 2007 (UTC)


I just checked the FAC page and noticed that this was on it. Being as it looks like it's garnering enough attention to pass soon, I wanted to leave some notes about things that could use some work (and I speak as an observer who would cry with happiness if this article showed up on the main page):

  • There are some instances in the article where the language gets kind of pro-Josquin, and pro-Renaissance (or pro-High Renaissance)...phrases like "it is in his motets that his technique is the most progressive and diverse" are troubling from a historian's point of view. The word "progressive" and the description of Palestrina's and Lasso's style as a "culmination" imply an improvement over previous generations; it's reminiscent of the kind of anti-Medieval bias that Renaissance scholars like Edward Lowinsky held. Repeatedly referring to Josquin as a "master", while common enough in textbooks, starts to sound prescriptive; it's important and necessary to note that he was highly esteemed by his contemporaries and that that esteem has vastly increased in the course of the twentieth century, but the article should show why he is considered great, rather than simply declaring that he is. (Which I think it ably does, but the language is still there.) The phrase "Italianate elegance and grace" should either be explained in terms of musical structure or eliminated (since it smacks of nineteenth-century conceptions of national character - "Northern hardiness" vs. "Southern sunniness").
  • As amazing as Reese's volume is for its time, it's 50 years old, and I can't help but think that further sourcing (which I think may be asked for for FA) would benefit from one of the more recent surveys - Leeman Perkins's Music in the Age of the Renaissance (1999) probably being the most comprehensive. Howard Mayer Brown's Music in the Renaissance (2nd ed., 1999) may also help.
  • I take issue with the statement "Josquin was one of the first composers to use "motivic cells" in his compositions, short, easily-recognizable melodic fragments which passed from voice to voice in a contrapuntal texture, giving it an inner unity". The passing of motivic fragments between voices is a critical undergirding element of some Notre Dame organum and conductus pieces. Granted, Josquin is working with this technique in a totally different way, but it's inaccurate as it's currently written.
  • I would love to see the Influence section expanded into a more general reception history. I think the Sherr volume has some information about historiographical concerns - how Josquin is viewed by the early historians (Burney, Hawkins, Forkel, etc.) and the nineteenth and early 20th centuries. It could mention something about the publishing of his works in modern editions (Smijers' edition and the NJE); it could also expand on the problem of the "Josquin canon" and the attribution problems (Sherr's volume has articles on this, too). Joshua Rifkin's article in Utrecht 1986 talks about how difficult it is to speak of stylistic aspects of Josquin's music when many of his most "characteristic" pieces have been thoroughly contested (e.g. Absalon fili mi), and I think that's an important point to make.
  • Should probably have better wikilinking of musical jargon (cantus firmus, melisma, counterpoint, even polyphony).

Chubbles 08:15, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

I pseudo-reverted one edit by Chubbles to restore this sentence (under "Overview"): Musical styles were changing rapidly, being molded by historical forces, as was the case in other arts. ([ref tag to:]Reese, p. 184-185.). I erased the word "with" to make it less "clumsy", but I think it's a) germane to Josquin's own stylistic evolution / diversity, and b) not POV, or at least surely not particularly controversial POV. Given the sourcing (please correct me if it actually misrepresents the source cited), I see no reason to delete it.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Turangalila (talkcontribs)
Sorry to confuse; I didn't delete that sentence because of POV concerns, but because (in its previous state) it was awkward, and because it's far too vague. What does it mean when "musical styles... are molded by historical forces"? What historical forces? I don't want to sound like a Taruskinesque soapbox here, but "historical forces" don't mold things, people do, and institutions (acting through people). I think specificity is key there; to the extent that the following sentences give it, they obviate the need for this sentence. The connection between music and the other arts is also very vague, and the article makes no other claims about it. One could try to draw parallels between, say, music around 1500 and painting or sculpture around 1500, and that would be fine (although perhaps fanciful), but it seems more at home in the Renaissance music article. So I think that sentence could still use improvement, or excision. Chubbles 11:06, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I changed some of the things you mentioned: thanks for bringing them up. It's a moot point now because the phrase is gone, but "Historical forces combined to mould them" is actually in Reese, though with a different word order, which is called out in the cite. I also took out the "elegance and grace" bit, even though I feel it's true (I suspect I'm more old-school than you).
Regarding motivic cells: yes, you will indeed find them in Notre Dame polyphony, and even before that: but Josquin was one of the first, if not the first, to use them again after a rather long break in music history, and their use as a unifying device in contrapuntal textures has been uninterrupted since then. I'm not quite sure how to say it, and I don't have that JMT article in front of me any more. Feel free to correct/refine/change that part.
Oh, and we still need to put something in about the NJE (New Josquin Edition, to anyone who doesn't know about it.) Haven't gotten around to it yet ... if anyone else reading this would like to add a couple lines about editions that would be great. I'm not sure what sources I've got within arm's reach at the moment. Antandrus (talk) 05:07, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Minor question[edit]

When I look at the comments that were left in the WikiProject Biography box above, the entire table of contents of this page shows up inside the box, in addition to Turangalila's comments. Does anyone know how to kill that TOC? (or is it just my browser?) Chubbles 01:31, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Reflist to Grove 1980[edit]

Some notes on the the refs to Grove:

  • It seems to me that it is a scholarly disservice to refer readers to the 1980 New Grove, rather than to the 2nd ed. Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
  • Refs are useful to "The New Grove Online," in principle and due to its constant updating, e.g., the section "Works" (accessed 1-22-08) by Jeremy Noble and Jeffrey Dean, who, by the way, did not edit the works list in the 1980 one.
    • But since the Online Edition is subscription required, a reference to the print one should follow as well (I believe that to be true in all similar Wiki cites).

I'd be happy to add the on-line refs, but do not own or am near a printed set. Somebody must have it handy. But on any event the prime directive is not to futz with someone's refs without premission.

Best, Shlishke (talk) 05:04, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

That's because I used it, rather than the online, for a few things (I have it in hard copy). Not everything in the Reese/Noble 1980 article is wrong, and it includes some stuff which are not in the current Macey version. It's been a while since I wrote this article but I do remember referring specifically to the 1980 version a few times. Cheers, Antandrus (talk) 05:22, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Looking just a bit more carefully, it was sections 8-11 (works, not works list -- Jeremy Noble wrote that part) in the 1980 version to which I was referring. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 05:29, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it'd be great to use the 2001 or online Grove in preference to the 1980, but again, we need to be sure that what we're citing is actually in the 2001 Grove. Better to cite the 1980 and be "wrong" than the cite the 2001, use the 1980 findings, and be wrong and misleading.
btw -- technically it's just "Grove Music Online": the "New" is dropped for the online service. Also "constant updating" seems to give far too much credit to the Grove Online staff--only a tiny percentage of articles have had any changes since the 2001 printed edition (mostly contemporary composers who have had death dates added). Note for instance that the Josquin bibliography stops at 2001. And it's really spotty: Phil Glass has no additions to the works list since 2000, but John Adams had an addition in late 2003, but nothing since. Best, -- Myke Cuthbert (talk) 06:05, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

musica reservata[edit]

Is there a reason Josquin's position in the whole musica reservata thing is not discussed? (BTW, the musica reservata article neglects to mention quickelberg, for starters.)


Shlishke (talk) 07:52, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Musica reservata was much later. The first use of the term was by Coclico in 1552. Quickelberg wrote around 1560 in Munich. Are you perhaps thinking of Orlande de Lassus? Cheers, Antandrus (talk) 14:28, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
You of are right, of course, on Lassus (sound of head-smack); it's actually a two-steps-away Coclico thing too small to add here; I might add a sentence on it to word painting. So I went to the Good Book (it's amazing what a lazy bum I've become, and of course forgotten, since I left school) and there in Grove II, Albert Dunning talks about Coclico and gives a ref to B. Meier, The Musica Reservata of Adrianus Petit Coclico and its Relationship to Josquin, MD, x (1956), 67–105, which I have not gotten to and do not really want to (others might have different feelings re what Wiki should entertain).
    • Hasta later, ---Shlishke (talk) 05:52, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Interesting! I don't know that article and would love to see what Meier has to say. Alas library is closed at this time of night ... I think I see where he's coming from though. Cheers! Antandrus (talk) 06:04, 27 February 2008 (UTC)


You know what would be great here? An IPA-style pronunciation at the beginning of the article, because I bet a lot of people, like me, have no idea how to pronounce his name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jdrice8 (talkcontribs) 01:57, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I second this motion. :) Cuyler91093 (Contribs) 07:54, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
Err, yes, but I never can decode those IPA 'clues'. Meanwhile, try beginning with the very initial part of 'jacques', transition to 'os' as in ossify, finish with 'scan', throw a 'de' (dih?) after that, and end with a 'pray'? (ducks) Shenme (talk) 09:25, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
The Columbia Encyclopedia gives the pronunciation as zhōs'kăN dāprā', if that helps. GeeJo (t)(c) • 20:22, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, I tried to add the pronunciation, but it got reverted with the comment "it is unknown how Josquin's name was pronounced at the time; pronunciation differs today from country to country". Neither of those claims is actually true, though; a great deal is known about French pronunciation of the late 15th and early 16th century, and modern French pronunciation does not differ from country to country. So if anyone wants an IPA transcription of how the name is pronounced today, it's [ʒɔskɛ̃ de pʁe]. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 17:47, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

his Flamish name[edit]

Concerning Josquin's name: of course Josquin is Frenchified Joske or Josken and the 'des Prez' (pastures in English) I thought came from van der Weijden (which is synonymous with van de Velde. Martinuddin (talk) 21:09, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Agnus Dei II Missa l'Homme Armee Super Vocales... as eye music.[edit]

Could someone have a look at the eye music section dealing with Josquin, particularly the unique instance of a canon (see subject) written in the form of a triangle?

Two questions:

  • Should that instance and rationale be entered here (as a footnote or an annotated interwiki link)
  • What categories can you suggest?

Best regards, Shlishke (talk) 18:10, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

"Most famous..."[edit]

I'm puzzled by the repeated assertion that a particular work is the "most famous" of a certain category. Not only is this entirely subjective, but I don't see that it's a particularly meaningful distinction. Wouldn't a less absolute formulation be preferable? For example, we could say "Work X is particularly well known" or something on those lines. What has 'fame' to do with medieval church music? (talk) 06:56, 26 December 2009 (UTC)


Why is there an introduction section? Why isn't it merged with the actual introduction? Brokenwit (talk) 02:43, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

I haven't gotten around to reverting it yet. The original WP:FAC-approved lead included the "introduction" but someone thought it was too long. I know the New Grove likes short leads, but Wiki style is for longer ones; many of us who write composer bios have trouble making the adjustment (I did at first). I'm going to fix it now. Antandrus (talk) 03:12, 19 July 2010 (UTC)


Is the fact that Stravinsky also liked to find new ways to solve compositional problems really relevant to this article? The two composers differed radically in style and time period, and solving compositional problems differently in different pieces is not something which I imagine is common only to Josquin and Stravinsky. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Completely gratuitous, and not verified by the cited source, either. It has been removed. Thanks for calling attention to this.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:09, 17 July 2012 (UTC)