The Sound of Silence

Simon and Garfunkel
Other voicings

Tenor: F#4 - E5
Lead: B3 - A4
Bari: C#4 - A4
Bass: F#3 - A 4

Tenor: G4 - D5
Lead: C4 - A4
Bari: B3 - A4
Bass: E3 - C4

Voice 1: G3 - C5
Voice 2: G3 - A4

Full chorus
Tenor 1: E flat 4 - G5
Tenor 2: E flat 4 - F#5
Lead 1: B3 - E flat 5
Lead 2: B3 - E flat 5
Bari: A3 - C5
Bass: D3 - G4

The starting-point for this major show-piece was Disturbed's 2015 cover of Simon and Garfunkel's classic. The White Rosettes sought to capture its escalation of of emotional impact as the vocal range shifted and the orchestration developed through the narrative of a dystopic vision.

A cappella voices can capture that sense of build through layering of different sizes of ensemble. And, whilst their timbral palette is more limited than the instrumentation Disturbed could draw on, they have the power of harmony to add colour and impact.

The arrangement is built around two main harmonic ideas: juxtaposing minor chords and key areas a third apart, and the dissonance of the melodic major 2nd and minor 3rd rubbing up against each other. Between them they create an atmosphere that hangs heavy with portent and mystery, echoing and amplifying the emotional tone of the lyrics.

Here it is sung by the White Rosettes at its UK premiere: