What makes a classical song a song? In a wide-ranging discussion, covering such contrasting composers as Brahms and Berberian, Schubert and Kurtag, Jonathan Dunsby considers the nature of vocality in songs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The essence and scope of poetic and literary meaning in the Lied tradition is subjected to close scrutiny against the backdrop of 'new musicological' thinking and music-theoretical orthodoxies. The reader is thus offered the best insights available within an evidence-based approach to musical discourse. Schoenberg figures conspicuously as both songsmith and theorist, and some easily comprehensible Schenkerian approaches are used to convey ideas of musical time and expressive focus. In this work of scholarship and theoretical depth, Professor Dunsby's highly original approach and engaging style will ensure its appeal to all practising musicians and students of Romantic and modern music.