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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2014

Eric Jas*
Utrecht University


This essay is a response to Rob Wegman's ‘The Other Josquin’, which was published in 2008 in the Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis. In his article, Wegman tried to demonstrate that certain works, such as the six-voice motet Inter natos mulierum, have unjustly been banned from Josquin's list of works and that an underlying methodological problem continues to distort our view of Josquin's oeuvre. In order to remedy the problem of ‘authorship as a truth-claim to be proved or disproved’, Wegman introduces the image of an ‘other’ Josquin. Even though authenticity continues to be a recurring issue in Josquin studies, Wegman's article did not lead to much of a response. The present article retraces Wegman's discussion of the authorship of Inter natos mulierum and takes a closer look at his arguments in an effort to determine if the introduction of ‘another’ Josquin could be to the benefit of present-day Josquin research, and what the results of adopting such an image might be.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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1 Wegman, R. C., ‘The Other Josquin’, in Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, 58 (2008), pp. 3368Google Scholar. Due to a problem in the post-proof stage of the production of this issue a disturbing printing error crept into Wegman's article causing the Greek letters (α, β and γ) on pp. 54–63 to appear in the wrong font, resulting in the somewhat strangely proportioned Arabic letters a, b and g (e.g. p. 99).

2 Ibid., 34.

3 Unless one would like to see the adoption of the title ‘The Other Josquin’ by the editors of the Computerized Mensural Music Editing Project as some sort of approval of Wegman's ideas (cf. It should be stressed, however, that the CMME editors appropriated Wegman's title for all sorts of compositions that were ‘excluded from the New Josquin Edition’, including many pieces that Wegman himself would probably never have considered for either his ‘gamma’ or ‘beta’ Josquin.

4 See, for example, the following recent studies: Fallows, D., ‘Josquin and Il n'est plaisir’, Early Music, 37 (2009), pp. 38CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Macey, P., ‘Josquin and Champion: Conflicting Attributions for the Psalm Motet De profundis clamavi’, in Bloxam, M. J., Filocamo, G. and Holford-Strevens, L. (eds.), Uno gentile et subtile ingenio: Studies in Renaissance Music in Honour of Bonnie J. Blackburn (Turnhout, 2009), pp. 453–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar; J. Thomas, ‘Absalon fili mi, Josquin, and the French Royal Court: Attribution, Authenticity, Context, and Conjecture’, ibid., pp. 477–89; Urquhart, P., ‘Ad fugam, De Orto, and a Defense of the “Early Josquin”’, Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, 62 (2012), pp. 327Google Scholar.

5 An earlier version of this essay was presented at Margaret Bent's Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music at All Souls College, Oxford, on 22 October 2009 as a response to Wegman's earlier presentation in this same series. I am most grateful to Dr Bent for her kind invitation to speak at All Souls and for suggesting the title for this paper. Thanks are also due to Willem Elders and Joshua Rifkin for their perceptive comments on portions of the text.

6 In the following discussion I will need to review some of Wegman's arguments in detail. This, may, inadvertently, lead some readers to presume that this article is part of some ongoing feud between the two of us. I should like to stress that Rob Wegman is a dear colleague, whose contributions to musicology I greatly appreciate.

7 Wegman, ‘The Other Josquin’, p. 35.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 ‘Commonly accepted’ here means that these pieces are listed as authentic works in the Josquin list of works in either the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (NG II), the new edition of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG 2), or the New Josquin Edition (NJE).

11 Note that in the NJE opera dubia are identified by an asterisk preceding their NJE number. The NJE numbers of opera spuria, which are excluded from the edition, are preceded by a double asterisk.

12 Ibid., p. 48. For more information on the Vallicelliana manuscript, see Lowinsky, E. E., ‘A Newly Discovered Sixteenth-Century Motet Manuscript at the Biblioteca Vallicelliana in Rome’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 3 (1950), pp. 173232CrossRefGoogle Scholar, repr. with postscript in Music in the Culture of the Renaissance and Other Essays, ed. Blackburn, B. J. (Chicago, 1989), pp. 433–82Google Scholar, and Bridgman, N., Manuscrits de musique polyphonique, XVe et XVIe siècles: Italie (RISM B IV5; Munich, 1991), pp. 348–55Google Scholar.

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid., p. 50.

15 As the other manuscript from Rome, VatS 38, transmits Inter natos without attribution, Wegman pays no attention to it. It may be interesting, however, to know that the Vatican manuscript contains eleven compositions that are attributed to Josquin in other sources. Of these the Vatican scribe ascribes seven to Josquin and two to Mouton. The remaining two pieces (including Inter natos) are left anonymous. None of these nine attributions is doubted in the modern literature, which makes VatS 38 a reliable source. One wonders if this can or should have bearing on the appraisal of the anonymous transmission of Inter natos in this manuscript.

16 See, for example, Osthoff, H., Josquin Desprez, vol. ii (Tutzing, 1965), p. 17Google Scholar; Blackburn, B. J., ‘Josquin's Chansons: Ignored and Lost Sources’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 29 (1976), pp. 3076CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Fenlon, I. and Haar, J., The Italian Madrigal in the Early Sixteenth Century: Sources and Interpretation (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 142–4Google Scholar; Boorman, S., Ottaviano Petrucci: Catalogue Raisonné (New York, 2006), p. 1126Google Scholar. A complete inventory of the manuscript is given in Bridgman, Manuscrits de musique polyphonique, pp. 72–6.

17 The piece is listed under Tromboncino's doubtful compositions in NG II and does not appear at all in Cara's list of works. In MGG 2 the piece figures in both the list for Cara and for Tromboncino as ‘Werk zweifelhafter Zuschreibung’ (Personenteil 4, col. 164; Personenteil 16, col. 1073).

18 For a discussion of the authorship of this piece, see NJE 23, ed. W. Elders (2006), Critical Commentary, pp. 50–2 (NJE **23.5)

19 For a discussion of the authorship of this piece and references to further literature, see NJE 25, ed. W. Elders (2009), Critical Commentary, pp. 68–72 (NJE **25.6).

20 For the most recent summary of sources for O pulcherrima, see Boorman, Ottaviano Petrucci, p. 931; see also the list of works for Festa, Févin and Mouton in NG II and MGG 2. In older literature, the motet is also given as a piece by Bauldeweyn, but this is a mistake based on an incorrect interpretation of Petrucci's attributions in Motetti de la Corona IV; cf. Sparks, E., The Music of Noel Bauldeweyn (New York, 1972), pp. 17ffGoogle Scholar.

21 For a survey of the sources and a discussion of the authorship of this motet, see NJE 19, ed. M. Just (1998), Critical Commentary, pp. 79–83 (NJE **19.7). See also the Mouton list of works in NG II and MGG 2, and Brown, H. M., ‘Notes towards a Definition of Personal Style: Conflicting Attributions and the Six-Part Motets of Josquin and Mouton’, in Proceedings of the International Josquin Symposium Utrecht 1986, ed. Elders, W. in collaboration with de Haen, F. (Utrecht, 1991), pp. 185207Google Scholar.

22 For a discussion of the authorship of Salva nos domine and Veni sancte spiritus, see NJE 26, ed. T. Braas (2013), **26.12 and **26.18. With regard to the Josquin attribution of Veni sancte spiritus in BolC R142, Wegman comments (on p. 48) that it is ‘less serious’ than the misattribution of Salva nos because it is shared ‘by three German manuscripts and Ott's Novum et insigne opus musicum (15371)’. It is not clear to me why an isolated misattribution should be more serious than a misattribution that also occurs elsewhere.

23 Picker, M., ‘Josquiniana in Some Manuscripts at Piacenza’, in Josquin des Prez: Proceedings of the International Josquin Festival-Conference … 1971, ed. Lowinsky, E. E. in collaboration with Blackburn, B. J. (London, 1976), pp. 247–60Google Scholar.

24 Picker argued that the piece was most likely conceived for six voices because seven would be extremely unusual for Josquin – it would be his only seven-voice piece – and because in the Bologna partbook the work is copied among six-voice pieces. This may be true, but the Bologna partbook is explicit about the number of voices and this number is not only listed in the body of the manuscript, but also in the first index where the motet is indexed, remarkably enough, among the six-voice ‘canti’ with an explicit ‘a 7’.

25 For a discussion of this work and a transcription of the Bologna voice part, see NJE 17, ed. E. Jas (2008), Critical Commentary, pp. 52–6 (NJE *17.6).

26 Fenlon and Haar, The Italian Madrigal in the Early Sixteenth Century, p. 143.

27 According to Wegman it would be unrealistic to expect attributions to be independent if there is no conflicting attribution in play. After all, if the motet was by Josquin, all attributions would by definition be dependent on the α source of the stemma (‘The Other Josquin’, p. 56, n. 30). This may be true from a theoretical point of view, but not necessarily from a practical position. Anyone who has tried to compile stemmata for fifteenth- and sixteenth-century compositions will have come across situations that clearly lack one or more important intermediate sources. Given the fact that so many sources from the period are now lost, it would seem unrealistic to expect the remaining sources always to give a fair impression of the transmission (and attribution) of a particular work.

28 Example 1 is based on Osthoff, Josquin Desprez, vol. 2, ex. 33 (there on three staves and in reduced note values). The same example is also found in ‘The Other Josquin’, at p. 41.

29 E. Sparks, ‘Problems of Authenticity in Josquin's Motets’, in Josquin des Prez: Proceedings of the International Josquin Festival-Conference, pp. 345–66, at 346.

30 Translation by Wegman, p. 42.

31 Sparks, ‘Problems of Authenticity in Josquin's Motets’. For a more detailed discussion of cross-relations in music after Josquin, see Urquhart, P., ‘Cross-Relations by Franco-Flemish Composers after Josquin’, in Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, 43 (1993), pp. 341CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32 False Relations and the Cadence’, in Charteris, R. (ed.), Altro Polo: Essays on Italian Music in the Cinquecento (University of Sydney, 1990), pp. 221–64Google Scholar; cf. Wegman, p. 45.

33 ‘The Other Josquin’, p. 46.

34 See Dahlhaus, C., ‘Tonsystem und Kontrapunkt um 1500’, in Jahrbuch des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung, Preussischer Kulturbesitz 1969 (Berlin, 1970), pp. 718Google Scholar.

35 For the discussion of a similar example in Josquin's Miserere with an added voice by Bidon, see Rifkin, J., ‘Singing Josquin's Miserere in Ferrara: A Lesson in Ficta from Bidon?’, in Carter, S. and McGee, T. J. (eds.), Instruments, Ensembles, and Repertory, 1300–1600: Essays in Honour of Keith Polk (Turnhout, 2013), pp. 309–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

36 Cf. Berger, K., Musica Ficta: Theories of Accidental Inflections in Vocal Polyphony from Marchetto da Padova to Gioseffo Zarlino (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 93ffGoogle Scholar.

37 On checking Josquin's motets for Satzfehler cadences, I stumbled upon a single, and rather odd, occurrence in Benedicta es, celorum regina (b. 72, S/A). Remarkably enough, the Satzfehler is here part of a four-voice cadence. All central sources give the dissonant clash between superius and altus, but there is something strange about it. The altus has a concise melodic gesture that is repeated twice, each time accompanied by one of the two bassus parts. On the first and second turns altus and bassus merge in a unison on g at the end of the tiny phrase (b. 69 and 70). The third time, however, the altus moves not to g but to b (b. 72) thus creating the Satzfehler. This is rather remarkable and as it is, furthermore, the only instance of the Satzfehler I have been able to locate in Josquin's music, one may wonder whether the sources reflect the reading of the archetype at this very point in Benedicta es.

38 Clearly, Osthoff was well aware of the subtle difference between the Satzfehler cadence and the more common cadence without true leading notes but with 9–8 suspensions. In his monograph he mentions how often the Satzfehler is found in all the Satzfehler motets; for Inter natos he lists four (Josquin Desprez, ii, p. 28). Actually, there are five in Inter natos, but this is still much less than the number of cadences such as the ones in Example 2 that are found in this motet: no fewer than ten. Sparks, too, distinguishes between the two types of cadences and in his article he even gives a music example, just like the ones Boorman published, illustrating ‘a generally dissonant context, in conjunction with other suspensions in which dissonance and resolution are expressed simultaneously’ (‘Problems of Authenticity in Josquin's Motets’, p. 349, Ex. 3b). All later examples cited by Sparks, taken from works by L'Héritier, Gombert and Clemens, involve true leading notes and their suspensions in cadences on C, F and/or B flat.

39 Osthoff, Josquin Desprez, ii, p. 53.

40 Sparks, ‘Problems of Authenticity in Josquin's Motets’, pp. 353–4.

41 Wegman, ‘The Other Josquin’, pp. 50–3.

42 ‘The Other Josquin’, p. 53. One gets the impression that the review of Just's reasons for excluding Inter natos was made not because it was essential to Wegman's argument, but merely to make fun of expressions that were ambiguous or unclear to him; expressions by a scholar who had earlier, in Wegman's opinion, severely and unjustly criticised Antonowycz's volume of the old Werken edition in which the motet was published.

43 ‘The Other Josquin’, pp. 47ff., 53, 56ff., 60.

44 Sources such as BrusBR 9126, FlorBN II.I.232, FlorL 666, VatS 38, and the first and second of Petrucci's books of Josquin masses.

45 ‘The Other Josquin’, p. 59.

46 Ibid., p. 34.

47 Ibid., p. 54.

48 Ibid., p. 59.

49 Ibid., p. 55.

50 For the most recent survey of all works attributed to Josquin, including several indexes and an overview of the sources, see NJE, vol. 1: The Sources: Compositions Attributed to Josquin in Manuscripts and Prints, ed. Elders, W. and Jas, E. (Utrecht, 2013)Google Scholar.

51 ‘Zur Autorschaftsfrage der Motetten Absolve, quaesumus, Domine und Inter natos mulierum’, in Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, 20 (1966), pp. 154–69, and see especially the list on pp. 168–9. On comparing the present-day work-list – a list containing approximately 330 items – with the contents of Smijers's edition, one notices that some 130 pieces are not found in the Werken volumes. More than half of these were rejected by Smijers and Antonowycz and the remaining pieces were simply unknown to them. Some thirty pieces that were unknown to Smijers and Antonowycz are nowadays considered either authentic or dubious and are included in the New Josquin Edition (see Appendix II).

52 Osthoff, Josquin Desprez, ii, 263ff.

53 This survey does not include pieces of which only small excerpts are known. These will be listed and discussed in an appendix to the NJE which will be published at the end of vol. 30.

54 Often the cases are straightforward, as, for example, with Ecce video (NJE **19.2) and Letare nova Syon (NJE **17.12), which are very convincingly attributed to Nicolaas Craen and Andreas de Silva respectively in other sources.

55 See Brown, ‘Notes Towards a Definition of Personal Style’, pp. 185ff. and esp. note 1; Rifkin, J., ‘A Black Hole? Problems in the Motet around 1500’, in Schmidt-Beste, T. (ed.), The Motet around 1500: On the Relationship of Imitation and Text Treatment (Turnhout, 2012), pp. 2182, esp. 24Google Scholar.

56 The survey in Table 8 is not complete; two further categories may be distinguished: (d) from doubtful or spurious to authentic (nine works): five secular works, two Credos, two motets; (e) from spurious to doubtful (three works).

57 These four motets are: Absalon fili mi (NJE *14.1), Absolve, quesumus, domine (NJE 26.1), Magnificat tertii toni (NJE 20.1) and O bone et dulcis domine (NJE 21.8). In most other cases there is a difference between NG II's ‘dubious/spurious’ and MGG 2's ‘dubious’ and ‘spurious’. NG II seems to be less specific about the final judgement in a number of cases.

58 The exception being the four-voice In pace (NJE **17.5).

59 Compare, for example, the remarks in ‘The Other Josquin’ (p. 48, n. 21) with Bonnie Blackburn's comments on the style and transmission of this motet in NJE 22, Critical Commentary, pp. 70–1.

60 For Macey's most recent appraisal of the motet, see NJE 15, Critical Commentary, pp. 76–108 where references to older literature may also be found.

61 ‘The Other Josquin’, p. 58.

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