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Professor Jesse Rodin unravels centuries-old authorship mystery

Jul 18 2022


From Holly Aylssa MacCormick's article for the July 18 Stanford Report:

The 15th-century French composer and singer Josquin des Prez, or “Josquin,” as he is commonly known, achieved the Renaissance equivalent of rock star status... A big mystery of early music is how many of the several hundred musical compositions attributed to Josquin were actually written by him, according to Stanford musicologist Jesse Rodin.

Rodin, Associate Professor of Music in the School of Humanities and Sciences, recently evaluated the authorship of the 346 pieces of music attributed to Josquin (1450–1521) using an approach that blends scientific rigor with methods from the arts and humanities.

Rodin identified a “core group” of musical pieces attributed to Josquin by reliable sources before evaluating Josquin’s musical style. Using this core group as a reference, Rodin and his colleague Joshua Rifkin, a scholar and conductor at Boston University, assigned confidence levels to the authorship of the remaining musical works attributed to Josquin.

“Some misattributions seem to be the result of wishful thinking: Then as now, people wanted to believe [Josquin] composed a given piece,” Rodin said. | Read the full article at Stanford Report.