The great French theoretician who synthesized the current rules of harmonic practice and suggested others in Traité de l'Harmonie ("Treatise on Harmony") (1723) and Nouveau Système de Musique Théorique ("New System of Musical Theory") (1726) -- works that are studied by composers to this day.
Rameau was a bold experimenter in harmony and a master of orchestration who introduced new effects (e.g., storm scenes), especially in the choruses of his "operas" (heroic pastorales, allegoric ballet, fêtes -- not opera as we think of it now). The finest of these are Les Indes galantes (1739) and Zoroastre (1749). His harpsichord pieces are exquisite miniature studies in harmonic and evocative invention. ~ Blue Gene Tyranny, Rovi