Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Research Project

Toward a Global History of Music Theory

2023 – 2025
Illustration of the Arca Musurgica by Fr. Athanasius Kircher, circa 1650

Illustration of the Arca Musurgica by Fr. Athanasius Kircher, circa 1650

Key Question

Project Summary

This project will produce and digitize an ambitious anthology of translated sources covering the global history of music theory – the first-ever attempt to compile an annotated reader illustrating the rich diversity of the world’s musical theories over two millennia.

Research Team

Thomas Christensen

Photo by Erielle Bakkum

Thomas Christensen

Avalon Foundation Professor of Music and the Humanities

University of Chicago

Thomas Christensen is a specialist in the history of music theory. He is the author or editor of over sixty publications, including Rameau and Musical Thought in the Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 1993), The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory (2002), and most...

Carmel Raz

Carmel Raz

Research Group Leader of Histories of Music, Mind and Body

Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics

Carmel Raz leads the research group “Histories of Music, Mind, and Body” at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany. Before coming to Frankfurt she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Columbia University Society of Fellows. She holds a PhD in music theory...

Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin

Associate Professor of Music

University of Michigan

Nathan Martin's primary research interests are in the history of music theory and the analysis of musical form. Martin has published widely on Jean-Philippe Rameau’s theory of harmony, on the new Formenlehre, on Mozart’s operas, and on the musical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. During the...

Lester Hu

Lester Hu

Assistant Professor of Music

University of California, Berkeley

Lester Hu is an assistant professor of musicology at the University ofCalifornia, Berkeley. He has held the Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowship in China Studies, the Townsend Fellowship, the CLIR/Mellon Fellowship, and the Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship. His articles have appeared in the...

Reading List

Christensen, Thomas S.

The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory Cambridge University Press, 2002 Read

Christensen, Thomas S.

Fragile Texts, Hidden Theory Musica Humana 3, no. 2 (2011): 177–207. Read

Hu, Lester

Chinese Ears, Delicate or Dull? Toward a Decolonial Comparativism Journal of the American Musicological Society 74, no. 3 (2021): 501–69. Read

Martin, Nathan John

Toward a “Global” History of Music Theory Journal of Music Theory 66, no. 2 (2022): 147–87. Read

Raz, Carmel

How the Sheng became a Harp Sound Studies 6, no. 2 (2020): 239–56. Read

Raz, Carmel ; Cohen, David E.; Grant, Roger M.; Hicks, Andrew; Martin, Nathan J.; Mutch, Caleb; Wald-Fuhrmann, Melanie; Wörner, Felix; Zayaruznaya, Anna

Going Global, in Theory International Musicological Society Blog: Musicological Brainfood 3.1 (2019). Read

Irving, David R. M.

Rethinking Early Modern ‘Western Art Music’: A Global History Manifesto International Musicological Society Blog: Musicological Brainfood 3.1 (2019). Read

Blum, Stephen

Music Theory in Ethnomusicology Oxford University Press, 2023 Read

Currie, Gabriela; Christensen, Lars

Eurasian Musical Journeys: Five Tales CambrIdge University Press, 2022 Read

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