Composed: ca 1500
by Josquin des Pres
Josquin des Pres was an international celebrity in his time. He was called the "Master of Notes" by Martin Luther. The music publisher who wanted to sell their work would put his name on pieces whether he had written it or not. Josquin was considered the greatest composer of the early Renaissance Period. Born on the border of France and Belgium he spent most of his life in Italy.
Josquin wrote music that could be either sung or played on different instruments. It was normal for songs to be performed by whoever was available, singer or musician.
"The Cricket" texture is polyphony in four voices; soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. This equal-voice texture is the norm for Renaissance music.
Occasionally during the song the voices rhythmically differentiate. These moments occur at the words, longo verso (long verse) and amore (love). The top and bottom voices sing very long notes while the inner voices weave around when the song text speaks of the crickets ability to hold an long line (longo verso).
When the songs text tells us about the cricket's singing about drinking (dalle beve) we hear a cricket-like chirping. This chirping sounds a little like the hiccups associated with drinking too much.
When the cricket sings of love the music is at its most complex. Each voice can be heard as a separate entity.
By repeating the opening section at the end it sounds like the song is not about to end but continue. This is normal for this period of music. This contrast of placing the beginning at the end creates a ternary form which uses the basic principles of contrast and return.