A discussion and analysis of "Samuel Barber: Ten Early Songs"

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)



First Committee Member

David Alt - Committee Chair


The purpose of this paper is to discuss a collection of Samuel Barber's (1910--1981) earliest song compositions, entitled Samuel Barber: Ten Early Songs. Written from 1927 to 1935, these songs provide insight into his early compositional style, and, although they are not as refined as his more mature works, they foreshadow the sophistication and expression exemplified in his later compositions. In his career, Barber wrote one hundred and three songs, representing more than half of his over two hundred compositions. Previous to the 1994 publication of Ten Early Songs, only thirty-seven songs had been published.The selections from Ten Early Songs will be presented with regard to their harmonic and melodic development. A discussion of the relationship between text and music will also be explored. Important influences on Barber's musical development, including his formal education and the years of advice bestowed upon him by his uncle, Sidney Homer, will be included in the discussion. A comparison of Barber's earliest sketches of the songs, found in his sketchbook from the 1930's, to the original manuscripts and to the published Schirmer score, provides insight into the progression of each song. Such a comparison reveals the similarities and differences among the various versions, and illuminates the evolution of Barber's compositional style.William Holab, Director of Publications at G. Schirmer, Inc. from 1989--2000, was the editor for the publication of Samuel Barber: Ten Early Songs . As a result of this comparative research, G. Schirmer Inc. has recognized the errors made in the current publication, and will send an erratum sheet to their distributor, the Hal Leonard Corporation. This erratum sheet will be inserted into the published score until the necessary corrections are made in the score's next printing.


Biography; Music

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