The song cycle was one of the most important musical genres of the nineteenth century. Famous examples by Schubert, Schumann and Mahler have received a great deal of attention. Yet many other cycles - by equally famous composers, from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - have not. The Song Cycle introduces key concepts and a broad repertoire by tracing a history of the genre from Beethoven through to the present day. It explores how song cycles reflect the world around them and how national traditions and social relationships are represented in composers' choice of texts and musical styles. Tunbridge investigates how other types of music have influenced the scope of the song cycle, from operas and symphonies to popular song. A lively and engaging guide to this important topic, the book outlines how performance practices, from concert customs to new recording technologies, have changed the way we listen.