Johannes Tinctoris

Jehan le Taintenier or Jean Teinturier, Latinised in Johannes Tinctoris (c. 1435 – 1511) was a Renaissance composer and music theorist from the Low Countries. He is known to have studied in Orléans, and to have been master of the choir there; he also may have been director of choirboys at Chartres. Tinctoris went to Naples about 1472 and spent most of the rest of his life in Italy. He published many volumes of writings on music. While they are not particularly original, borrowing heavily from ancient writers (including Boethius, Isidore of Seville, and others) they give an impressively detailed record of the technical practices and procedures used by composers of the day. The writings by Tinctoris were influential on composers and other music theorists for the remainder of the Renaissance. In his Complexus effectuum musices, the author reflects on the many effects music has on the human soul, considering particularly twenty of them. Most of the effects considered are closely connected with spirituality. Music helps human beings to elevate their souls and to get in contact with divine and spiritual dimension. Johannes’ considerations underline the important connection between music and religion in European music history. Many of the most famous pieces of music in European tradition are, in fact, pieces of sacred music.

  • 1446 AD
    Born in Poperinghe, Belgium
  • 1446 AD
    Pope Clemente VIII dies, Alfonso of Aragon conquered Sardinia island
  • 1460 AD
    Tinctoris was paid for four months’ service ‘in habitu ecclesie’ at Cambrai Cathedral
  • 1462 AD
    He had matriculated as a student in the German nation at the University of Orléans
  • 1472 AD
    Tinctoris travelled to Naples, to enter the service of King Ferdinando I of Aragon He also wrote Proportionale musices
  • 1473 AD
    1473 St Catharine’s College were founded (Cambridge University)
  • 1475 AD
    He started writing Expositio manus
  • 1476 AD
    Chaplain at the court of Ferdinand d’Aragona court in Naples Wrote Liber de natura et proprietate tonorum
  • 1490 - 1500 AD
    He moved to Rome, in charge for the papal chapel
  • 1492 AD
    Discovery of America
  • 1511 AD
    Johannes Tinctoris dies

Johannes Tinctoris, Complexus effectuum musices

Neque me credas velim omnes effectus ipsius
liberalis ac honestae musices (sic eam
Aristoteles vocat hoc in opusculo) complecti
verum tantum modo viginti, ut sunt
Deum delectare,
Dei laudes decorare,
Gaudia beatorum amplificare,
Ecclesiam militantem triumphanti assimilare,
Ad susceptionem benedictionis divinae
Animos ad pietatem excitare,
Tristitiam depellere,
Duritiam cordis resolvere,
Dyabolum fugare,
Extasim causare,
Terrenam mentem elevare,
Voluntatem malam revocare,
Homines laetificare,
Aegrotos sanare,
Labores temperare,
Animos ad praelium incitare,
Amorem allicere,
Jocunditatem convivii augmentare,
Peritos in ea glorificare,
Animas beatificare.

Lectio Ecclesiastica (Italian Group) Lectio Restituta (German Group)
I don’t want you to believe that I will embrace
all effects of noble and virtuous music (so
Aristotle defines it in his short treatise), but [I
will consider] only twenty of them, which are
to please God,
to embellish the praises of God,
to amplify the joys of the blessed,
to make the pilgrim Church similar to the
triumphant one,
to prepare the receiving of the divine blessing,
to move your soul to devotion,
to banish sadness,
to dissolve the hardness of the heart,
to scare away the devil,
to lead to ecstasy,
to raise the worldly mentality,
to cast back an evil will,
to cheer up mankind,
to heal the sick,
to soothe the labors,
to incite the soul to battle,
to attract love,
to increase the joviality of the banquet,
to glorify its experts,
to beautify souls.

Opus musices, manuscript 1483

Opus musices, manuscript 1483


Josquin Despres, Ave Maria… virgo serena Josquin Despres (around 1450 – Condé-sur-l’Escaut, 1521) is considered one of the most influential composers of the Franco-Flemish school. Josquin merges the counterpoint technique with the expressive needs and the respect for worlds and text. Ave Maria is probably the most famous mottet (religious composition in which there are four voices,with a more or less developed counterpoint) written by Josquin probably between 1484-1485. The mottet celebrates the events of Virgin Mary’s life. The four voices enter in canon, from the highest to the lowest. Each verse has a compact counterpoint treatment and it ends with a cadence.

Josquin Despres, Ave Maria... virgo serena