In a singular Romantic gesture, his parents named him for the Greek god of Music and Poetry. In addition, he had the most up-to-date reed making equipment of the day. But it is his considerable knowledge of music composition that truly sets him apart from the average oboist of his time. Certainly, he is the only one of that period whose name comes to mind daily, in its Anglicized form Barret, since every oboist in the world plays or teaches from his tutor on a regular basis. There is nothing quite like playing from this wonderful piece of history.
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His book is one of today's most widely-used methods for the education of young and experienced oboists alike. Written in and revised in , it is the standard for oboe methods. And through it, Barret established himself as a fixture in the oboe world. Often known simply as "the Barret" or "the Barret Book," the method contains teachings, exercises, etudes, and solos that guide students through the basic elements of not just the oboe, but also of music.
As popular as Barret's book is, it is surprising how little literature thoroughly addresses it. Many books and papers mention Barret, but it is usually within the context of a broader subject.
Beyond discussions of Barret, a number of authors have also edited and transcribed his Method. In order to further understand Barret's book more completely, this paper will focus on its contents and how they are organized.
This treatise outlines the life and works of A. Barret, as well as the background and progressive qualities of his Complete Method for the Oboe. The purpose here is to bring to light the educational foundation by which Barrett organized his teachings in order to understand why his method is still one of the primary educational tools used by oboists today.
This paper shows why the method book has that value and how it is accomplished: through the progressive nature of the book's content. This progressive nature will be demonstrated by isolating two musical techniques and showing how they are utilized: first in isolation, and then in increasingly larger musical contexts.
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