Article

Jean-Philippe Rameau

Charles Dill

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0042
Jean-Philippe Rameau

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Jean-Philippe Rameau (b. 1683–d. 1764) was trained as a keyboardist. Most of his early career was as a church organist; his best-known job was at Dijon. Rameau continued to compose, publish, and perform keyboard music after moving to Paris in 1722, but from that point on his principal interests became opera and music theory. As an opera composer, Rameau’s output included five tragédies en musique (lyric tragedies)—one not performed until after his death and two additional ones never completed—and twenty-four operas in lighter genres. His operas were revived continuously until the Revolution, when French tastes changed substantially, and musicians and critics acknowledged their importance well into the early years of the 20th century, when a full-scale revival of interest in his works took place. From 1722 on, Rameau was also known as a music theorist. Using the harmonic series as his basis, he conceived harmonic function in terms of a fundamental bass, which allowed him to develop ideas of triadic inversion, along with assigned functions like tonic, subdominant, and dominant.

Article.  12101 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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