What it is about

Classic rock.

How it was written

Antique is written as a classic rock song from the 1960s or 70s.

The novelty factor is that it avoids the typical verse-chorus format and uses a more organic approach with 7 sections structured as ABCBDDE1FE2DDGGGG. It looks complex but the idea is simple enough: each section has 8 bars, except for E1 and E2, which are 4 bars, and the sections are linked together in interesting ways.

A cadence is the usual method to link sections. This cadence is invariably a harmonic device comprising a progression of two, occasionally three, chords. It gives a sense of closure to a section and an oft-used analogy is that a cadence acts like a full stop in a book.

Antique eschews harmonic cadences and uses nonharmonic techniques to link sections. Little attention is paid to this aspect of music in the literature, yet it is perfectly feasible, and there are lots more options available than there are using just cadential chord progressions.

Riff raff

Antique segue A B C
Antique segue A B C

A melody is used to segue between sections A B and C.

The connecting riffs are identical except for the last note. This note becomes the tonic of a new key. The move from section A to section B modulates from the key of D to the key of A and the melody ends on note A. The same melody is used to move from section B to C except the last note is changed to D and the piece modulates from A to D.

Segue away

Antique segue D E1 F
Antique segue D E1 F

Syncopation is used to segue from section D to E1 and thence to F.

The fretless bass, shown in the score, plays the root note of each chord in section E1. The composite rhythm uses groups of 2, 3, 4 and 5 eighth-notes, and, although the underlying meter is 4/4, the effect is quite striking. The accordion plays an accompanying harmony on two notes whilst the rest of the instruments are silent, which adds to the unusual and spartan feel of the section.

A rhythmic cadence is a rare beast but a very effective tool for connecting sections together.

Silence is golden

Antique segue D G
Antique segue D G

Dynamics are used to seque from section D to G.

The simplest dynamic effect is silence. At the end of section D, the instruments play a harmony on the first beat of bar 4 followed by three beats of silence. Punctuated, as usual, by percussion, which throws in a vibraslap on the first offbeat, and a cowbell and snare on the second.

Another effective dynamic ploy is crossfading, reducing the volume of the old section whilst fading in the new one.

Shiver me timbres

Antique segue G
Antique segue G

Changing timbre is another effective cadence technique.

Antique finishes with a single section, G, repeated four times. The harmony in each section is exactly the same and the sections are distinguished from each other by featuring one of the instruments more prominently than the others: accordion first, then guitar, then bass, then finally, as shown in the score, percussion, with the hihat lording it.

Tech spec

Title: Antique

Key: A D and E

Tempo: 116bpm

Length: 3' 52"

Track 1: piccolo melody

Track 2: oboe harmony

Track 3: accordion

Track 4: nylon guitar

Track 5: fretless bass

Track 6: drumset

Genre: pop, rock