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“Aunque no esté de moda” (“Although it's out of Fashion” 1969)

Silvio Rodríguez

in Al final de este Viaje, 1978

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As with “Ojalá” and “Te doy una canción,” rapidly shifting harmonies are a constant feature in this song, where the singer seeks a closer relationship from his lover.  The song consists of four sections:,[1] a restrained verse in F# minor (Verse, “Voy de mi hacia ti”), where the singer quietly starts to woo; this wooing becomes more excited in the ensuing lift and pre-chorus sections, which are predominantly in A major, but with many couplets ending in F# major. The chorus, which starts more clearly in A major, features text that would seem to describe paranoia more than the erotic love of the lift and pre-chorus (“Ayer leí una mano y cada dibujo al verme me interrogó,” “Un ruido como de pasos viene en la oscuridad y se vuelve a ir”).

aunque noeste de moda

A striking feature in this song is the rising chromatic melody in both the lift and the chorus. In the lift (Ex. 8A, “Desdunémonos pues como viejos amantes”), the melody makes a slow chromatic climb from D to F#, resting on each note for two beats on a single chord; hence, it illustrates the excitement reflected in the text in a manner similar to the chromatic-rise topos for eroticism used by Mozart and other Classical-era composers. Reflecting the text, the rising chromatic melody has a different effect in the chorus (Ex. 8B, “cada dibujo al verme me interrogó”).  With the melody on a lower tessitura (at an A below middle C, rather than D above), its placement relative to the bass (a fifth above vs. an octave), and its faster pace (one semitone per beat), the effect it has is one of confusion and complexity rather than rising excitement.

Ex. 8A-“Aunque no esté de moda,” Lift

Ex. 8B-“Aunque no esté de moda,” Chorus

Both of the above-named sequences have phrases that end in F# major (VI#), which occurs where one might more conventionally expect an F# minor or A major.,[2] However, the cadences in F# major are not strong; in the chorus, the final F# major is approached by chromatic sequence rather by a root-position dominant, and in the lift, the final F# is the dominant of B.  The lack of resolution creates a level of tension that would not have been achieved with a more conventional A major or F# minor.

The song contains few instances of harmonic confirmation. Not only is the F# major not confirmed but also the A major lacks authentic cadences; the only authentic cadence of the initial key of F# minor are at the beginning of the verse. This lack of authentic cadences helps maintain harmonic tension throughout the song, as progressions sound unfinished. Hence, this lack of harmonic resolution and heightening pitch illustrate musically the songwriter’s anxious and unanswered state of affairs.

  • [1] Alternatively, the song could be described as strophic, with four sections, as all sections repeat with similar, but not exactly matching text; for the purposes of this analysis, however, I am assigning names of song parts according to their apparent function.
  • [2] The Beatles also used VI# (e.g. the bridge of “Something”), but in “Aunque no esté de moda,” the modulation remains incomplete.

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