Chapter one is a biographical overview of Samuel Barber examining his early compositional inspirations and schooling. Starting with a brief background of his family and their relation to music the author gives insight into Barber's early attraction to composing, in particular songs. Tracking Barber through his college years and travels the author produces evidence supporting his love of the Irish culture and literature.
Chapter two gives both a political and cultural background of Vienna during the late 19th century, early 20th century. Tracking the most popular form of entertainment of the day operetta and how the genre morphed to better accommodate society. Especially looking more closely at Franz Lehar and The Merry Widow and how it influenced the genre and withstood the test of time through World War II.
Chapter three is a compositional analysis of Il Barcaiolo by G. Donizetti giving some brief roman numeral analyses of key moments. Focusing mostly around how the text is supported in the accompaniment and vocal line.
Chapter four takes a pedagogical look at Heitor Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5. Taking into account the long vocalises in the beginning and end and how to go about teaching/ training for these long stretches. Vocal fatigue is another consideration when teaching/ learning this piece for which the author offers a few considerations on how endurance might be built up.