Composer and Theorist. His "Treatise of Harmony" (1722) is considered a landmark in the development of modern theories of harmony. His theories helped shift the emphasis from Baroque counterpoint to a more symphonic style using chords, laying the foundations for the Classical period. He wrote many harpsichord and chamber pieces, but is best-known for his stage compositions. Rameau was born in Dijon, France, and was a cathedral organist in many cities before settling in Paris around 1722. His chief dramatic works include the operas "Hippolyte and Aricie" (1733), "Castor and Pollux" (1737), and "Zoroastre" (1749), and the opera-ballet "Les Indes Galants" (1735). Two of them, "The Princess of Navarre" (1745) and "The Temple of Glory" (1745) had librettos by Voltaire. These were written in the emotional style of Jean-Baptiste Lully, but Rameau added the novelty of lavish staging. This marked the beginning of the French grand opera tradition. Rameau's stage works are seldom performed today, but his ideas, in the "Treatise of Harmony" and the later books "A New System of Music Theory" (1726), "Demonstrations of the Principals of Harmony" (1750), and "Elements of Music Theory and Practice" (1752), are influential and historically important.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards