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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: July 2015

14 - Fifteenth-century humanism and music outside Italy

from Part III - Humanism
Jean d'Ockeghem is praised widely for his graciousness, his Christian virtues, and his skill as a singer. Jean Molinet, who singles out the music of Gilles Binchois, Antoine Busnoys, Guillaume Du Fay, and Ockeghem as the best of its day, lists Ockeghem as the first among these masters. The role of imitation in Ockeghem's music has been the object of a great deal of commentary. Ockeghem's approach to melody appears to be among the most elusive aspects of his music, to judge from the level of subjectivity that permeates various attempts to describe his melodic design. Ockeghem's textures gain clarity from the sense of unification provided by imitation, but the imprecise character of that imitation often leaves the listener wondering if it is adequately real to foster a genuine perception of such unity. Long, serpentine melodies abound in Ockeghem's music, inevitably resulting in a sense of unpredictable meandering.
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The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music
  • Online ISBN: 9781139057813
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