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Dufay was the most famous and influential composer in Europe in the mid-15th century.
As the central figure of the Burgundian School, Dufay was the most famous and influential composer in Europe in the mid-15th century. He trained as a chorister at Cambrai Cathedral, and later appears to have entered the service of the Malatesta family in Pesaro. After a brief return to Cambrai, he was back in Italy – in Bologna and Rome. During this period Dufay also began his long association with the Este family in Ferrara, some of the most important musical patrons of the Renaissance, with whom he had probably become acquainted during the days of his association with the Malatesta family; Rimini and Ferrara are not only geographically close but the two families were related by marriage, and Dufay composed at least one ballade for Niccolò III, Marquis of Ferrara. He spent his later years back at Cambrai, where he was visited – such was his fame – by such musicians as Binchois, Tinctoris and Ockeghem.
Dufay wrote in most of the common forms of the day, including Masses, motets, Magnificats and hymns. None of his surviving music is specifically instrumental, although instruments were certainly used for some of his secular music, especially for the lower parts; all of his sacred music is vocal.
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