Date of Award

Spring 3-28-1997

Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis




In the twentieth century there has been much diversity and multiplicity in the musical world. Tonal and rhythmic realms have been redefined by many composers, some who were concerned with preserving beauty in their aural landscapes and some who deemed it an inessential part of the musical experience. In this compositional sphere, Samuel Barber was a composer who continued the Romantic tradition handed down to him, while adding to it aspects of contemporary musical culture. In all of his writing, Barber's highest musical aim was expression of emotion, and the variety of compositional techniques he employed were used to serve the expressive intent of the music. Emphasis on expression is a characteristic of the Romantic aesthetic. but it is the only Romantic characteristic Barber consistently implemented throughout his writing. He frequently used other Romantic musical traits, but he also wrote quite adeptly using serial procedures and other distinctly twentieth-century compositional approaches. Barber is, therefore, a composer outside conventional classification. a composer of diverse techniques, who served only beauty and expression.