Sam Barrett is a Senior Lecturer in Music and Director of College Music at Pembroke College. He is a specialist in early medieval music, with a particular interest in Latin song and issues in notation, transmission and performance. He also researches and teaches jazz and related genres of popular music.
His work within medieval music is driven by an interest in song, especially in the way it crosses boundaries between text and music, writing and orality, and memory and performance. These interests have focussed on arguably the earliest surviving layer of the Western European lyric tradition, namely the music of the late antique and early medieval Latin lyric, in relation to which he has identified new notated sources and developed analytical techniques for assessing a musical tradition previously presumed to lie beyond detailed commentary. This research has resulted in new editions of the earliest layer of a continuous European tradition of song. He also has an active research interest in American jazz of the 1950s and ’60s. His published articles on modal jazz are currently being extended in preparation for publication of a book under the working title Kind of Blue and the Modality of Modern Jazz (OUP, forthcoming).
His undergraduate teaching has concentrated on topics medieval music and jazz, including courses on Plainchant and American Jazz (especially from the 1940s onwards). At the graduate level, he has jointly taught the main Introduction to Musicology course for several years, as well as a shorter course on Conceptions of Music in the Late Antique and Medieval Worlds. He has also supervised an MPhil thesis on contemporary Spanish jazz.
Sam Barrett is a co-editor of Music & Letters and on the editorial board of Early Music History. He previously held a Junior Research Fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship and an initial appointment in the Faculty of Music as a Newton Trust Lecturer.