When Steve Cruikshank applies the concept of Negative Harmony to Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” something magically surreal happens to the song. Suddenly the emotion and meaning of the song alter and we can listen to the song with a whole new viewpoint. But what is negative harmony in the first place?
Negative Harmony is a musical concept that flips major chords into minor chords, creating an entirely new composition from the same notes. For those of us who aren’t composers, this sounds complicated, but it’s actually fairly easy if you understand the basics of music theory. Here’s a great video that explains how Negative Harmony works:
Musician and composer Steve Cruikshank applied this technique of Negative Harmony to Simon & Garfunkel’s 1966 classic “The Sound of Silence.” Listening, you can hear where the original melody takes a downward slope in the music, the melodic line rises in the new cover. It’s a complex version of the song, and one that transforms the mood of the entire piece without changing the core of what makes it beautiful.