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Dunstable (Dunstaple), John (c.1390–1453)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0455

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Dunstable (Dunstaple), John (c.1390–1453). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


English composer, known as the Prince of Music. His surviving works consist chiefly of polyphonic Masses, single Mass movements, Mass-pairs, and motets. All his surviving 50 compositions are on sacred texts. They include sections of the Mass Ordinary, Latin Motets, mostly on the Virgin Mary, and isorhythmic polytextual motets. The compositions vary from traditional accompanied melody in three voices to complex isorhythmic patterns in three or four voices. His music was characterized by sonority of texture. There is also a feeling for chords and chordal progression. His pieces are airy, singable, and lyrically fresh, as in Salve regina mater mire and Sancta Maria, non est tibi similis. Although his works were not performed after 1500, Dunstable had enormous influence among musical theorists.


  • dunstable (dunstaple), John (c.1390–1453);
  • english composer, known as the prince of music;
  • polyphonic masses, single mass movements, mass-pairs, motets;
  • compositions on sacred texts;
  • mass ordinary, Latin motets, on the Virgin Mary;
  • sonority of texture