Educator of music


Guillaume Dufay was a famous Renaissance composer.


Dufay was born in Cambrai, France, in the year of 1399 and died in 1474. He spent the majority of his career in Cambria. He joined a choir with fifteen to twenty other members, originally. As the years passed, members, including Dufay, moved to other choirs for money and other such reasons. Guillaume Dufay was a chief figure of music schools because of his completion of education as a choir master, as well as being very well-educated in most aspects of music.


Dufay's large musical output contained masterpieces of every genre, or style and type of music. Some types of his were:

Some of Dufay's main changes in music were:

He introduced harmonies which then brought out the melody in his works

Dufay made the rules and imitations for the cannon. The cannon is a song or melody with two or more parts. The first group plays the melody, then the second group repeats it while the first plays a new melody or harmony, followed by the second group and the song continues in this fashion.

Guillaume Dufay was the first composer to use a folk song in mass. A mass is a group of songs sung to honour God in the Roman Catholic Church.

Four of Dufay's most famous Cantus Firmus Masses were:

Dufay wrote eighty-seven motets, which were sacred vocal compositions in sontrapuntal style, without instrumental accompaniment. He also wrote fifty-nine chansons, which were songs, (originally ballad-like) most being French love songs. Seven Italian chansons were written as well. He made seven complete masses as well as thirty-five mass selections.


Guillaume Dufay was a Dutch composer, who started a new generation in music. Dufay was not only a musician, but he also taught famous composers how to work with instruments and other music related things. One of Dufay's most famous breakthroughs was to write music for instruments and not just for singing. Some of these instruments included the lute, spinetto, viol, virginal, recorder and lira de braccio. Even today these instruments have been modified into newer versions like the piano, clarinet, oboe, harpsicord, modern day recorder as well as guitars.

Another one of his accomplishments was the change of chants to harmonies, which made the music flow more smoothly than the complex rhythmic textures of the late Medieval Period.

The impact of Guillaume Dufay's music changed music forever and also inspired more people to write music since his time.

This Lute was made in the second half of the 16th Century and was made by Giovanni Hieber. It is the property of the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels.



1. Grout, Donald Jay. A History Of Western Music. New York, W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1973, pp. 161-164, 168-169, 181.

2. MicComb, Todd Michel. []. "Dufay." 1996.

3. Paganelli, Sergio. Musical Instruments from the Renaissance to the 19th Century. Toronto, 1970, p. 109.

4. Scholes, Percy A. The Oxford Companion to Music. Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1970, p. 305.

This page was prepared by Laura and Jillian, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.