The New Imperial Edition of Solo Songs has been designed as a chronological anthology of song from the Lutenists down to the present day. As other albums will be devoted exclusively to operatic and oratorio arias these are generally omitted from the present volumes. Manifestly, the selection must be indicative rather than comprehensive or merely exclusive and is essentially practical, not personal. Each song is briefly annotated and, except where indicated, appears in the original key or is set for the voice which it is normally associated. Apart from obvious restrictions, the choice has been largely determined by certain positive needs. To provide the singing teacher and student alike with a working catalogue as a basis for more specialized research into the varied treasure of the literature of song; to give the festival committees and examination bodies a ready way of governing without unduly restricting the dangerous freedom of choice classes; to present the would-be accompanist with a convenient means of studying the many-sided aspects of the exacting technique; and, lastly, to offer to all singers, whether amateur or professional, a practical and logical conspectus of the diversities of lyrical song over a period of some three hundred years. If, in addition these books will do something to combat the present-day weakness for vocal exhibitionism or narrow eclecticism the labour of their preparation will be doubly justified.