El Grillo is a typical frottola, a simple profane song in Italian and musical ancestor of the madrigal. The frottola was often homophonic in texture with a lighthearted vernacular text. Josquin Desprez, who spent many years working in Italy, produced three frottole, of which El Grillo is today the best known (though there is still some question as to the accuracy of the attribution).
The jovial text speaks of the splendid singer - the Cricket - this has sometimes been supposed to refer to one of Josquin's musical colleagues, the singer Carlo Grillo.
This work is not exemplary for Desprez's oeuvre, most of his works are more complex and refined in nature.
The cricket is a good singer.
He can sing long notes.
He sings all the time.
But he isn't like the birds.
If they've sung a little bit
They go somewhere else
The cricket remains where he is
When the heat is very fierce
Then he sings only for love.
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