Simon and Garfunkel’s Folk Harmony “Scarborough Fair (Canticle)”

“Scarborough Fair/Canticle” is a traditional folk ballad that was rearranged and popularized by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. The song is a medley of “Scarborough Fair,” a traditional English folk song, and “Canticle,” an original composition by Paul Simon. It was included in their 1966 album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.”

“Scarborough Fair” dates back to the Middle Ages and has been passed down through generations in various forms. In Simon & Garfunkel’s rendition, the song features an intricate arrangement with beautiful harmonies and acoustic guitar work. The lyrics of “Scarborough Fair” depict a man setting tasks for his former lover, challenging her to prove her love. Each task in the song becomes increasingly impossible, symbolizing the difficulty of rekindling a lost love.

The “Canticle” portion of the song was written by Paul Simon and was added to the traditional lyrics of “Scarborough Fair.” “Canticle” references the anti-war song “The Side of a Hill,” which Simon had written earlier. The combination of the traditional ballad and the anti-war message of “Canticle” created a unique and powerful fusion.

“Scarborough Fair/Canticle” became a hit for Simon & Garfunkel, reaching a wide audience and becoming one of their signature songs. Its haunting melody, poetic lyrics, and the duo’s exquisite vocal harmonies contributed to the song’s enduring popularity. Over the years, it has been covered and referenced by numerous artists, cementing its status as a folk-rock classic.

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