Jacob Obrecht (c.1452-1505)

Probably the only Dutchman among Josquin's greatest contemporaries.  In his music, the facile side of his character is perhaps most obviously expressed by his readiness to move contrapuntal lines in parallel motion, especially by tenths in the outer voices; by his penchant for composing sections built from short, succinct motives repeated a number of times with little or no variation; and by his willingness to extend a phrase by means of interminable sequences.  Obrecht's clear sense of tonality identifies him as fully aware of the new compositional possibilities of organizing independent melodic lines by vertical, harmonic means.

About 25 Masses, 20 motets, and 30 secular pieces by Obrecht survive.  Like most of his Masses, many of his motets are built over cantus firmi.  But if this old-fashioned technique serves as a structural basis for his music, the style of some of the motets seems modern insofar as the text is set in a declamatory manner.