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MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help

Author Topic: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help  (Read 28670 times)

Offline jelfmusic

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MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« on: July 29, 2015, 04:11:46 PM »
I was wondering if any one could help me. I am really interested in Max's approach to writing and I know quite a bit about the melodic math approach he uses. I've been trying to look for any posts that refer to it on here as I've seen a few people mention that there are posts on here discussing it.

Hope you can help.

Thank You

Offline Adam B

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015, 03:41:47 AM »
There's no melodic math. But you could try having your verses and choruses sound different to eachother.

Try this as an exercice -write a song where the verses focuses on the tonic, just use the tonic, -1, +1.. keep it really static. For the chorus you change it up a little to focus on the third instead.

Or the other way around, dosnt really matter, the important thing is the change, to make the listener feel somethings happening in the song. Keep em focused, thats the really important part.

Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2015, 01:50:04 PM »
There's no melodic math.

Wait, what do you mean "there's no melodic math"? That is the specific term used by Max, Shellback, Savan etc. for their approach to songwriting.

Offline soundoffhear

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 12:02:03 AM »
I have highlighted the practice in my previous posts. It has to do with tweaking intervals here and there to mimick familiar songs. The advanced approach is being able to tweak in a sparse fashion as to disguise the origin melody that you are mimicking.

Lennon/McCartney were the first to do this in as a wholesale approach to songwriting. As the years went on they were not ashamed to admit it either.

Writing the entire song from the ground up this way will not yield good results. It works best when you have a great melodic motif and 'fill-it-out' with this approach. Classical composers use that approach to make their melodic phrases longer. John Williams is notorious for this utilization of a simple motif, and 'filling-out' the surrounding melody lines with familiar interval choices.

In the pop music world, the supporting chord choices are what really give the overall melodic design weight. Think about a lot of Stevie Wonder's songs without chords, just bare melody. It is a great melody, but what makes it sound really professional and polished are they supporting higher extension chords that he chose to harmonize the melodic line.

Above all else, the approach requires great taste and instinct. If a person does not have those two attributes, all the 'melodic math' in the world will not lead them to be a great songwriter.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 12:11:00 AM by soundoffhear »

sweetmelody

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 03:32:04 AM »
I have highlighted the practice in my previous posts. It has to do with tweaking intervals here and there to mimick familiar songs. The advanced approach is being able to tweak in a sparse fashion as to disguise the origin melody that you are mimicking.

Lennon/McCartney were the first to do this in as a wholesale approach to songwriting. As the years went on they were not ashamed to admit it either.

Writing the entire song from the ground up this way will not yield good results. It works best when you have a great melodic motif and 'fill-it-out' with this approach. Classical composers use that approach to make their melodic phrases longer. John Williams is notorious for this utilization of a simple motif, and 'filling-out' the surrounding melody lines with familiar interval choices.

In the pop music world, the supporting chord choices are what really give the overall melodic design weight. Think about a lot of Stevie Wonder's songs without chords, just bare melody. It is a great melody, but what makes it sound really professional and polished are they supporting higher extension chords that he chose to harmonize the melodic line.

Above all else, the approach requires great taste and instinct. If a person does not have those two attributes, all the 'melodic math' in the world will not lead them to be a great songwriter.

So let's talk about these intervals. What are you seeing in Max songs? Let's get some examples going!

Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 04:10:28 AM »
Interesting points, however, that is not melodic math. Part of it is obviously syllable-counting, straight vs. syncopated note lines, no more than 3 melodic parts in a song. Amongst other things. Some have been spoken about publicly, some is passed along the Swedish writing-community and some probably only Max and his closest collaborators know (yet ;) )

Offline Voodoo

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2015, 07:32:29 AM »
Use your heart. Plain and simple. You can use math all day but if it doesnt move you, it aint shit

Offline soundoffhear

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2015, 07:38:59 AM »
that is not melodic math. Part of it is obviously syllable-counting, straight vs. syncopated note lines, no more than 3 melodic parts in a song.

Those aspects you speak of are arrangement choices and rhythmic style. Melody has to do with intervals.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 07:52:15 AM by soundoffhear »

Offline soundoffhear

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2015, 07:51:26 AM »
Use your heart. Plain and simple. You can use math all day but if it doesnt move you, it aint shit

Using your heart exclusively... This will get you 4-5 great entire songs if you have a real gift. Beyond that great songs would need to come from collaboration with others. And even beyond that, the quantity required to be a professional songwriter of Max Martin, Burt Bacharach, Elton John stature does not come from just the heart. It requires craft and filling in the 'heart-felt' melodic idea with familiar intervalic commodities.

Think of it as fuel. When you get stuck writing, or the feel or vibe of the melody starts to lull, infusing it with some 'go-to' intervals will give you a little extra fuel to finish the race. All of the great composers use this technique in some form, Max just coined it "melodic math".
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 07:53:03 AM by soundoffhear »

Offline georg_e

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 02:13:19 PM »
                     ^     ^    ^

              Yeah but no -- Max did NOT call it that.  The original poster was asking specifically about number of syllables etc per section.   A technique Max uses. Bonnie McKee talks about it in the New Yorker profile of Dr Luke. It's there.  That's what the original poster's question was about --it's a real thing, whether you want to use that method or not.

                Intervals are a different subject.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 02:15:46 PM by georg_e »

Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2015, 02:16:15 PM »
Those aspects you speak of are arrangement choices and rhythmic style. Melody has to do with intervals.

This is not a thread where we're discussing what you think melodic math should be. The thread starter was wondering about what Max mean by melodic math, which has very little to do with intervals...

Edit: Thanks georg_e, quicker on the draw!
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 02:18:21 PM by AlexanderLaBrea »

Offline georg_e

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 02:19:44 PM »
                                                                ^    ^   ^
                               Great minds think alike at exactly the same time, lol!!!

Offline j.fco.morales

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 04:48:20 PM »
Those aspects you speak of are arrangement choices and rhythmic style. Melody has to do with intervals.

And rhythm.

I go with the syncopated stuff, but it's not a rule though.
In their catalogue there's plenty of different stuff and and there are so many factors about it, and its aesthetic.

sweetmelody

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2015, 05:05:23 PM »
Anyone want to share some specific example and details in songs? Very curious.

Offline georg_e

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2015, 05:31:08 PM »
Anyone want to share some specific example and details in songs? Very curious.
             Only one I can think of from someone actually involved with Max was an interview with Bonnie McKee where she used the first two lines of  "California Girls" chorus as an example of this...she was talking specifically about the way those first two phrases mirrored each other RYTHMICALLY, and number of syllables-wise was an example of the way Max thinks. She wasn't talking about 'melody intervals'. Can't remember which interview it was though.

EDIT: Found it....it's in the New Yorker Dr. Luke profile....

In writing lyrics, McKee adheres to the Swedish school of pop songwriting championed by Max Martin. Words are chiefly there to serve the melody. “It’s very mathematical,” McKee explained. “A line has to have a certain number of syllables, and the next line has to be its mirror image.” I asked for an example, and she sang, “California girls, we’re unforgettable, Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top,” then said, “If you add one syllable, or take it away, it’s a completely different melody to Max. I can write something I think is so clever, but if it doesn’t hit the ear right then Max doesn’t like it.”
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 08:35:18 PM by georg_e »