For plenty of music lovers, “The Sound of Silence” sits on their list of all-time favorite songs.
Perhaps that’s why artists across the globe have covered the classic, from vocalists to instrumentalists.
One unique version on the internet is from French musician Etienne de Lavaulx, who lives in Melbourne, Australia.
He uses an instrument you don’t see every day and the results are hauntingly beautiful.
Paul Simon began writing “The Sound of Silence” in November of 1963, a song that eventually became a number one hit for the duo Simon & Garfunkel.
Over the years, various renditions of the song have made their way into the music world. From acoustic to Pentatonix’s chilling a cappella version – to an extraordinary remake by heavy metal band Disturbed. “The Sound of Silence” has also appeared in films. The original famously played in The Graduate, while a lot of kids know the tune because of a cover that was created for the movie Trolls.
You might have heard “The Sound of Silence” in a variety of forms, but have you ever heard it played on a 5-chord zither?
Etienne’s a musician and instructor who plays the chord-zither (and classical guitar). He first picked up the unusual instrument in 1973 and currently fascinates listeners with it at festivals, concerts, and shows in the Melbourne area. He’s also recorded multiple albums featuring his music – which can be found on his website.
A zither is a type of stringed-instrument where the strings run across the soundbox, yet, don’t extend beyond it (like a guitar). There are different members of the zither family such as the concert zither, chord-zither, and the autoharp. Zithers are often played with the instrument lying on a table or on the musician’s knees.
Etienne plays the zither beautifully, and his YouTube channel is filled with covers. His version of “The Sound of Silence” has been viewed over 2.4 million times.
In the video, Etienne has his instrument set on the table and he plucks it using both of his hands. The sound it creates is peaceful and enchanting – especially when combined with Simon & Garfunkel’s classic. While it’s purely an instrumental piece, you can likely still hear the lyrics in your head during his song.
“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again…”
The vintage zither Etienne is playing comes from Germany and is adorned with roses. In the video description, he explains:
“This arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel’s hit is played on a 5-chord zither made in East Germany sometimes during the 60s or 70s. It has single melody strings. Both single and double melody strings instruments are played exactly the same way. On a zither with double melody strings, both strings are tuned in unison.”
On his website, Etienne shares that vintage zithers can show up at sales, in antique stores – or many have one saved at home.
Some viewers were brought back to childhood hearing the sound of his instrument. A person commented:
“I have my grandmother’s zither. She came from Germany in 1906, and she played it until she couldn’t. Thank you so much for this…”
Another viewer wrote:
“Beautiful. One of my favorite songs. You also have very elegant, expressive hands which makes it a pleasure to watch you play…”
It’s a magical performance of a classic song that might become one of your favorite renditions. Press play below to experience “The Sound of Silence” in a unique way!
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