If we are to blame any composer for the puzzling question ‘What is Negative Harmony?’ that caused a worldwide itch on the creative minds of many young composers in this century, it would be Jacob Collier, who introduced the world with prodigious, colorful harmonies upon releasing his first album “In My Room” in 2016. Provided with brief answers during interviews with June Lee that explained the concept of tones and chords being mirrored on an axis center in the opposite direction, the surface of Negative Harmony was exposed but led to even more confusion. Prompted by even more questions, the internet exploded with articles and blogs about Collier’s interpretations of Negative Harmony. Unfortunately, they all varied in their approach and results, which led curious fans such as myself back to the original question, ‘What is Negative Harmony?’ Even though Collier shows innovation in his compositions, the musical principles applied are built on a solid foundation laid by composers and music theorists that was built centuries before him. For this reason, we can best learn about Negative Harmony if we evaluate it within its historical context.
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Haller, Debora, "Negative Harmony: The Shadow Of Harmonic Polarity On Contemporary Composition Techniques" (2020). Composition/Recording Projects. 1.
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