Classic Cat

Biography of

Pierre Attaingnant

ca. 1494 - ca. 1551
Buy sheetmusic from Attaingnant at SheetMusicPlus

Pierre Attaingnant (or Attaignant) (c. 1494 – late 1551 or 1552) was a French music printer, active in Paris.



Attaingnant is considered to be the first to use single-impression movable type for music-printing, thus making it possible to print faster and cheaper than predecessors such as Ottaviano Petrucci. He published over 1500 chansons by many different composers. In this collections the Paris composers, like Claudin de Sermisy, Pierre Sandrin and Pierre Certon, are prominently present, but Clément Janequin is at the top of the list with five books of chansons, dedicated to his chansons only. He acquired royal privileges for his music books, which were renewed many times. Eventually he was named imprimeur et libraire du Roy en musique (Royal music-printer and librarian).


Attaingnant's major contribution to music printing consists in his popularizing the single-impression method for music printing, which he first employed in his 1528 publication Chansons nouvelles en musique à quatre parties. In this system, the individual notes were printed directly onto segments of staff, and so the notes, staff lines, and text could all be printed with one send through the printing press. The main disadvantage of this method was the alignment of the staff lines, which often had a “bumpy” look - some being slightly higher or slightly disjointed from others. Nevertheless, this method became standard music printing practice across Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Apart from his 36 collections of chansons, he also published books with pieces in lute or keyboard tablature, as well as Masses and motets.

Among the most important documents for the keyboard music in general and in French Renaissance keyboard music in particular are the seven volumes published by Attaingnant in Paris, in the Spring of 1531:

  1. Dixneuf chansons musicales reduictes en la tabulature des Orgues Espinettes Manichordions, et telz semblables instrumentz musicaulx... Idibus Januraii 1530 (sic).
  2. Vingt et cinq chansons musicales reduictes en la tabulature des Orgues Espinettes Manichordions, et telz semblables instrumentz musicaulx... Kal. 1530 (sic).
  3. Vingt et six chansons musicales reduictes en la tabulature des Orgues Espinettes Manichordions, et telz semblables instrumentz musicaulx... Non. Frebruaii 1530 (sic).
  4. Quatorze Gaillardes neuf Pavennes, sept Branles et deux Basses Dances le tout reduict de musique en la tabulature du jeu d'Orgues Espinettes Manicordions et telz semblables instrumentz musicaulx... (February 1531 ?).
  5. Tabulature pour le jeu d’Orgues, Espinettes et Manicordions sur le plain chant de Cunctipotens et Kyrie Fons. Avec leurs Et in terra, Patrem, Sanctus et Agnus Dei... (March 1531).
  6. Magnificat sur les huit tons avec Te Deum laudamus et deux Preludes, le tout mys en tabulature des Orgues Espinettes et Manicordions, et telz semblables instrumentz... Kal. Martii 1530.
  7. Treze Motetz musicaulx avec ung Prelude, le tout reduict en la Tabulature des Orgues Espinettes et Manicordions et telz semblables instrumentz... Kal. Aprilis 1531.

In popular culture

An original composition by Attaingnant has been used three times in contemporary popular music:

The original can be heard below, in the first sample, Quand je bois du vin clairet. An alternate version by lute solo also exists, in Attaingnant's printed works.



  • D. W. Krummel and Stanley Sadie, Music Printing and Publishing. New York, Norton, 1990.

External links

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pierre Attaingnant. Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
Buy sheetmusic from Attaingnant at SheetMusicPlus

Our dream: to make the world's treasury of classical music accessible for everyone. See the about page on how we see the future.
Help us with donations or by making music available!

Contact     Privacy policy    Looking for classical mp3 downloads? We index the free-to-download classical mp3s on the internet.
©2021 Classic Cat - the classical music directory
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Visitor's Favorites

Bach, J.S.
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5

Columbia Chamber Orchestra

Chopin, F.
2 Nocturnes Op. 27

Monica Alianello

Rimsky-Korsakov, N.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Puccini, G.
Madama Butterfly

Accademia di Santa Cecilia

Bach, J.S.
5 Little Preludes (BWV939-943)

Chris Breemer

Offenbach, J.
Orpheus in the Underworld

Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris