Session 27 (90-minute presentation, discussion, and hands-on workshop): Echoes of Josquin: Counterpoint, similarity, and the digital ear

Wednesday, 7 July 2021, 11.00-13.00, Room 217

Richard Freedman (Haverford College) & Daniel Russo-Batterham (University of Melbourne)

How were Josquin’s works heard and reworked by his contemporaries and followers? And how (at a distance of some 500 years) can digital tools help us to understand the fabric of those adaptations? Focussing on the Imitation (or Parody) Mass of the 16th century, Citations: The Renaissance Imitation Mass (CRIM; has been investigating these and other questions, building a systematic set of vocabularies for analysis (, and assembling a database of thousands of human observations about modeling in some two dozen pairs of Masses and models (including several works by Josquin). These were not simply collections of citations, but complex analytic observations  that tell us about how material from a model was shifted, extended, compressed, and otherwise adapted in novel ways. Thanks to a major new grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (through 2023) CRIM is now in a new phase of work that will put the insights of musicologists and data scientists into counterpoint with each other, modeling human expertise in terms that can be used to teach machines to help us look for patterns of transformation, and presenting the results of automated score-reading in forms that scholars can begin to interrogate.

During this presentation-workshop we will explain our methods from two disciplinary axes (musicology and data science), exploring how a small set of basic concepts can help us to manage complex contrapuntal connections within and between these works. In the first 40-minute segment, participants will learn about key contrapuntal schemata (focussing on a few kinds of important imitative patterns) and types of relationships (distinct ways of noting how soggetti were quoted and transformed), then look for these patterns in a few key works by Josquin (and their echoes in Masses by Févin, Willaert, Morales, and Palestrina).

In the second 40-minute segment (and after a brief pause) we will turn to explore the digital tools: how they work, how to use them, and how to put the human and machine ways of reading into dialogue with each other. Participants will conclude by articulating some collective questions and hypotheses of their own, and by imagining their subsequent participation in the project in the future via the CRIM Summer School 2021 (four 90-minute sessions, July 14, 15, 21, 22; see and via classroom visits and paid assistantships during 2021–2023.

How to Prepare: No previous training with digital tools or Renaissance counterpoint is  assumed. But participants and attendees are strongly encouraged to prepare for the session by watching an introductory video presentation about CRIM, and by listening to and downloading various focal pieces. A link to the video, and session materials are available at

Special note: if you have a gmail account, you will be able to make use of free software that will easily run via your browser without special software installation. Gmail is free, and you will not need to receive or send messages with it in the future.