In this seminar we will take a deep dive into historical texts of music theory from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Because of its significant overlaps with physics, acoustics, aesthetics, and philosophy, music theory can serve as an important site for any inquiry into the history of ideas. Particularly distinctive in music theory of the 18th century and beyond are the linkages that join the empirical and physical sciences with speculative discourses on beauty and subjectivity. In addition to covering major figures in the canonic history of Western music theory after 1700, this seminar will focus in particular on moments of colonial encounter and exchange that occurred through music theory; our aim will be to understand how the modern, Western self was in part fashioned through its investigation of non-Western musical systems. For their final papers, students are encouraged to draw on their own research interests, placing them in dialogue with the historical texts and methodological concerns that we will explore together this semester.