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Dutch School

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Dutch School

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In music, the Dutch School refers, somewhat imprecisely, to the style of polyphonic vocal music composition in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. The composers of this time and place, and the music they produced, are also known as the Franco-Flemish or Netherlands School. See Renaissance music for a more detailed description of the musical style, and links to individual composers from this time.

As the country borders in this period do not agree with any national borders today, the term "Dutch" may be confusing. Few of the artists originated in what is now the Netherlands. Instead, the word "Dutch" refers to the Burgundian Netherlands, roughly corresponding to modern Belgium, northern France and the Netherlands. Most artists were born in Hainaut, Flanders and Brabant. During periods of political stability, this was a center of cultural activity for more than two hundred years, although the exact centers shifted location during this time, and by the end of the sixteenth century the focal point of the musical world shifted from this region to Italy.

While many of the composers were born in the region loosely known as the Netherlands, they were famous for working elsewhere. Netherlanders moved to Italy, to Spain, to towns in Germany and France and other parts of Europe, carrying their styles with them. The diffusion of their technique, especially after the revolutionary development of printing, produced the first true international style since the unification of Gregorian chant in the 9th century.

Following are five groups, or generations, that are sometimes distinguished in the Netherlands school. It should be noted that development of the musical style was continuous, and these generations only provide useful reference points.

  • The First generation (1420-1450), dominated by Dufay and Binchois; this group of composers is most often known as the Burgundian School
  • The Second generation (1450-1485), with Ockeghem as its main exponent
  • The Third generation (1480-1520): Obrecht, Isaac and Josquin
  • The Fourth generation (1520-1560): Willaert and Clemens non Papa
  • The Fifth generation (1560-1600): Lassus. By this time, many of the composers of polyphonic music were native to Italy and other countries: the Netherlandish style had naturalized on foreign soil, and become a true European style.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.