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How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies

Author Topic: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies  (Read 7455 times)

Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2020, 10:48:38 AM »
Wtf, this is basically off key. Oh my god, such a good production but it is simply the wrong key. And nobody is bothered?!

Yes! Actually a little worrying that there is only one comment here and on the video regarding that. It’s unlistenable.

Offline B Steady

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2020, 05:58:32 PM »
Yes! Actually a little worrying that there is only one comment here and on the video regarding that. It’s unlistenable.

Not only a little. That comment below my comment on YouTube is rather shocking - no to mention the likes for the sub-comment.
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Offline NeutronSynergy

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2020, 10:49:35 AM »

In a nutshell : Simple is beautiful ; repetition is the key thing.

Mozart’s lacrimosa and Beethoven 5’th are good examples.

However lifting simple things can be anything else than easy.
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Offline Dagge

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2020, 08:34:39 PM »
All in all, what I can say out of a long-time experience. Music creating i.e production and composing in a way that exCheironers did was and is the best job in the world. Not only the best job but the best way to spend your life happily and with a sense of purpose.

If you are among lucky few to be at the right place at the right time and have enough talent, you have a chance to lead real life that is better than dreams. Which is extremely rare I believe. I have seen so much passion, enthusiasm and joy in this business. I have never seen anything similar in any other life career path, unfortunately most of those people lacked talent, opportunity or work ethics to continue. You do what you love, you enjoy creating music that sounds good, it's not easy so it is an intellectual challenge and the feeling of accomplishment is the result. And you know that you are doing something that will bring joy to millions of listeners. There is nothing similar, except maybe for doctors that save lives but I am not sure they enjoy pressure and responsibility involved.

I have been on several job paths and now I am in IT. I like it and it's good but cannot compare it with the music creation. IT is mechanical and it lacks that 'something' that music creation has. Some mystical things. Like many other music enthusiasts I haven't been able to live a decent life by making music, because I wasn't believing in my career, didn't spend enough time and effort, and I am probably not so talented like those mentioned guys. All that was the reason for a reasonable decision to do something else, but I still positively envy those guys. Not on the success or money they have made but the life they are living. Max nicely described it at the Swedish award ceremony that he feels lucky to be left in his toy store for the majority of his life. All those countless days and nights spent in the studio weren't forced, they all loved it so much. I am really and genuinely happy for him and the other guys.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 08:42:52 PM by Dagge »

Offline j.fco.morales

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2020, 10:52:41 PM »
I would love to know if the guys were smoking weed in the late 90's while doing these amazing songs.

I'm not sure if they do smoke now but it's very common.

Offline NeutronSynergy

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2020, 03:17:27 PM »
I would love to know if the guys were smoking weed in the late 90's while doing these amazing songs.

I'm not sure if they do smoke now but it's very common.


Now that one is quite a striker;

Did Max Martin and other cheironers make melodies when getting high? If so then is the long inspiring  symptoms of ’melodic math’ a by product of weed? How about cocaine ? (that’s a bit dangerous though) was Cheiron as any other creative unit:

Beatles,Zeppelin,Quincy,BB+Brian W.Sound city. P Roger Nelson,Stones,Eagles and dozen of others.
Swedish are a strong sauna country so it could be just that and powerful  working ethics and puritist virtues.

anyway to be less novel ; last time I was in L.A ; I must say I wondered that what is all this ”smiley faces talk talk” all around the hollywood even in west Hollywood - like near whiskey a go go bar(close to where mr.Martin lives) then I realized that they  legalized Marijuana : ( not saying that I don’t follow newspapers)

So at saturday night when party peoples were unleashed and hotels where pact the whole Hollywood went high on weed. specially on centrum Hollywood but Don’t mind me saying that it would be all so happy and chill ; when you encounter all the homeless and poor people floating down the sunset - all the way thru to the Hollywood boulevard - completely high - that’s another perspective ( I mean 50!? times or more completely strangers comes to speak to me while I was  adventuring around : high fives , silly sun glasses , sexy ladies and expensive cars ; it’s a social drug=) I say this knowing that Americans generally are more outgoing (social) folks than many others. being high is however totally different story, if you hang around Stockholm you know what you get : In L.a it’s crazy.

So no probs for Marijuana anymore if you live in California, strangely the Backstreet boys show was out at the same time so mr.Martin effect was again in the spotlight.

alis grave nil

Offline MarshallHolland

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2021, 11:53:52 AM »
 @NeutronSynergy, No. I think "melodic math" (aka: classical music theory, but adapted for short compositions instead of full movements) was just the result of Denniz and Max (And even Luke, later on) analyzing tons of hit songs, noting the similarities, then applying those findings/techniques in their own music. In fact, "melodic math" changes with the times. Listen to a song Max worked on in the OG Cheiron days, then compare it to a 2010 Katy Perry Max/Luke/Benny song........Then compare that to a song Max has worked on more recently like "Blinding Lights". Completely different styles of writing. EX: A melody as simple and calculated as "Katy Perry - Part of me" wouldn't work in todays climate.

Offline NeutronSynergy

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2021, 01:03:21 PM »
@MarshallHolland , Good post. I agree. and I have had similar observations that their work indeed resulted into an ”extension” or adaptation of theory of classical music in some areas ( more or less knowing). Maybe resembling stuff like fundamental harmony or entropy, serial composition (trasformational theory) and set theory or musical
semiotics.

Probably the same thing applies to their creative prosess too.

Knowing his classical roots; I Think Max is an analyst of theory with modern tools ; as you pointed out. (in some ways) or at least their creative process have lead to this.

Like you said ’melodic math’ have changed during the time and
maybe  that’s their  ’seeking of the tonic’ in lateral thinking.

I’ll listen your examples.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2021, 11:15:43 PM by NeutronSynergy »
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Offline NeutronSynergy

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2021, 11:25:52 PM »
Listen to a song Max worked..


Yeah , the climate have changed
that Katy Perry song wouldn’t fit now (straightaway at least)

even some of the OG Cheiron stuff sounds more current.

Ironically the Blinding lights strikes like Aha’s Take on me..a bit of a laughtering here. ( I guess 80’s are everywhere now) a good song however.

I must add that : the sonics - the sound and the mix + all the digital tools available have played a big role in how the Cheiron sound have shaped —> in song writing too.
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Offline Dagge

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2021, 01:10:54 AM »
I wouldn't go that far. I subjectively think things are more simple, a good melody is always in the demand. Look for example 'Black Heart' by Stooshe, a melody that is kinda 80 years old yet it was a hit in the era of different melodies.

If I remember correctly this was said by the former ASCAP CEO. He said that they knew in advance which style will they force on radios across US for the coming year, but the melody is always in demand, only dressing slightly changes. That is what Max makes so successful, he sells something they are always. The funny thing is he probably construct them by cleverly combining other's short 3-5 tonal proven melodic phrases, but that is another story.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2021, 01:15:39 AM by Dagge »

Offline Helluvafella

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Re: How does Max and other ex-Cheironers make melodies
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2021, 12:23:41 AM »
You mentioned that melody 'just pops up' in Max's head. Is it possible that this whole gang around Max is so many times more talented than vast majority of all other famous songwriters elsewhere that also coined hits. I mean, ex-Cheirones churn hit after hit for the last 20 years and still counting. I wonder how is it possible that they have so many ideas in their head while other hitmakers are much less productive (which I am sure they would love to be). Is it possible that they use some 'mechanical' rules for generating ideas in the process, instead of awaiting for the ideas to come on their own, rules that they did't reveal to anyone outside gang yet.

I can understand that Max is a melody genius, but there are all others around him that also churn hit after a hit. Is it possible that they all are supertalented music geniuses. I somehow cannot imagine that to be true from the statistical probability point of view.

To me it is a very interesting topic, probably most important one in the whole Cheiron saga. You can build interesting chord progressions if you use chord wheel properly, you can make interesting arrangement if you feel rhythm and are meticulous, but you cannot make hit melodies like Cheironers do. That is their main distinction point from the other composers, and a main reason for their enormous success in my view. I think those two to four bars of a chorus melody actually make all difference in the world. Which if you deduct melody math rules and symmetric repetition can be striped down to one or a two bar melody phrase that makes all the difference.

But interesting point is that if we suppose that average melody phrase spans 6 tones in range and such phrase consists of 2-6 consecutive tones, there are mathematically only 50,000 different melody phrases possible. If we take into account that former composers already abandoned tonal combinations that doesn't sound good, possible phrase combination list is much shorter. Since there are millions of songs composed already, there is a great chance that those phrases that are sonically pleasant are already used by someone else  before(I am not taking into account difference in rhythmic tonal duration). If that is true, is it possible that they simply play with short phrases already used by others and tweak them a little as a substitution for waiting for a song melody to 'pop out' in the head. What's left would be a good taste for musical preference of masses like you said and a strong discipline not to give up before one coins a very good tonal result. By taking a former hit phrase you ensure that it's tonal attractiveness is already confirmed by the audience.

There are many such examples. For example chorus melodic phrase in a 1986 year famous Berlin hit 'Take my breath away' is almost identical to 20 years later Katy Perry's 'Hot N Cold' chorus which repeats first two bars of an original phrase by adding one transposed instance.
https://youtu.be/Bx51eegLTY8?t=20
https://youtu.be/kTHNpusq654?t=65

One could take Berlin's phrase, tweak tonal rhythm a bit and repeat same phrase once more by using melodic math rules, and a result could become Katy Perry's hit phrase. Taking a shorter phrase of 2-4 tones that is proven on the market and sounds good as a material to be tweaked and moulded is even simpler, and Cheiron guys (especially Max) are famous for building hits with short phrases. 'Everybody', Get down', 'I want it that way' by BSB, 'Crazy' by Britney, 'Show me love' by Robin, 'Since u been gone' by Kelly Clarkson, 'So what' by Pink, 'Last friday night' by Katy Perry etc. Funny thing is that you are free to use Robyn's 'Show me love' phrase and tweak it endlessly because 'borrowing' less than 6 consecutive notes phrase is not considered as plagiarism.

Second example is a phrase that is a part of a busy chorus from Barry Manilow hit 'Copacabana' that is identical to second 4-tone phrase in Britney's hit 'Crazy', which is a bit transposed.
https://youtu.be/7cB5VQAAOYk?t=41
https://youtu.be/Q4VK9_CfOLQ?t=44

Third example, 4-tonal starting phrase from Adam Lambert's 'Whatayawant from me', second phrase from 'DJ got us falling in love' by Usher ft Pitbull, 'Till te world ends' by Britney, 'Loser like me' by Glee Cast, 'Beauty and a beast' by Justin Bieber and 'No tears left for cry' (both distinctive phrases) by Ariana Grande are among many others that were used on numerous occasions before. If you or I use same phrase on the chorus, will we be accused of plagiarism? Hardly, yet those are strong and market proven phrases to be used in our own song. Funny, you almost cannot miss by using already market proven phrases and tweak them a bit. Why risk by using your own that are unproven yet (if you are not Max of course).
https://youtu.be/khEyoVCwQhE?t=288
https://youtu.be/khEyoVCwQhE?t=323
https://youtu.be/khEyoVCwQhE?t=425
https://youtu.be/khEyoVCwQhE?t=441
https://youtu.be/khEyoVCwQhE?t=546
https://youtu.be/ffxKSjUwKdU?t=20, second phrase compared to https://youtu.be/3gl5OEZ8j_o?t=49

There are really many such examples of phrase similarity or even sameness, and it hardly can be avoided taking into account above mentioned math. Funny thing is that Cheironers based many of their hits on tweaking short phrases that sound good on their own, and combinig them together, repeating them, transposing them etc.

If that is the true, what stops composer from using this method constantly instead of awaiting for a melody to come out of the head, an elusive process that is out of composer's control in a busy everyday schedule. After all, there is an old adage that bad composers borrow but good composers 'steal' yet are good at disguising it. There is no adage about composers awaiting for an inspiration to come. In that case stories about inspiration and muse could be left for PR and media purposes only.

I am not saying guys are doing that because I respect them without doubt, this is only an academic discussion. Market proven phrases are there for all to use. If a nicely arranged chorus phrase generated a billion views on YouTube, chances are your own version based on that one may also generate a few views. It all somehow boils down to what Max said in the early days. You have to have confidence that your (or someone else's) little phrase that sounds silly played on a piano has potential to become a hit. If you use already proven phrases you even don't need that much of a self confidence. Will power and determination combined with a bit of talent may take you far. Yet people are not very disciplined nor determined on the average. I bet 98% of composers think that inspiration is everything and are happy awaiting for The one hit phrase that will make them famous. Funny thing is if they finally found it, it will probably be a minor variation of a phrase already used by someone else before.

Very interesting find with Berlin‘s „Take my Breath away“ and „hot and cold“.

I think most pro songwriters draw inspiration from old songs. The 80‘s had some of the best melodies. One can literally take 3 or 4 notes and play around with it until you create something different. Another example i can think of is the 80’s song „when your heart is week“ by Cock Robin. The first 4 notes sound almost identical to Beyoncé’s mega hit „if I were a boy“. Coincidence? Could be. But honestly, I think not.

Same with „teenage dream“ and „you get what you give“ by the new radicals. The chorus rhythm is the same. Coincidence? Definitely not!