Guillaume Dufay was born about 1400 and received his musical education as a chorister in the Cathedral of Cambrai. Very early in his life he started to show great talent as a singer and composer and was called to Italy, first to the Court of Malatesta at Rimini and Pesaro, and later as a member of the Papal Choir in Rome as well as the Court of Louis of Savoy at Geneva. 1436 finds him in the service of Pope Eugene IV in Florence, where he composed motels for the inauguration of the dome built by Brunelleschi. He frequently returned to his home in Burgundy and later held canonries at Cambrai, where he spent the rest of his life up to the time of his death in 1474.
Dufay's travels brought him in close touch with the musical style of both the North and the South. Thus the year 1425 puts him down as the so-called founder of the Netherland's Polyphonic School, and from 1440 on he was generally considered the leading master of church as well as secular music.