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MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help

Author Topic: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help  (Read 18118 times)

Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2015, 04:58:37 AM »
A lot to respond to. Firstly, I'll leave it up to the others to decide whether or not it is evident that there is some sort of silver lining in the use of certain intervals in the songs mentioned before. I don't hear it, and as far as planting the idea of a hook/chorus line or title in the verse, that is hardly Max specific, but also more or less standard practice, or tool of trade amongst songwriters. Alltough, very good tip for people who are not unhealthily obsessed with analyzing pop music. What I'm looking for is evidence of principles used by Max w/ disciples in a majority of tunes, as the case with some of the other principles mentioned earlier in the thread. My two cents are that just because a melody jumps from a tonic to let's say a minor third somewhere in two songs, doesn't mean that it is calculated at all. It is incidental. For example, California Gurls and Domino share no resemblance what so ever melody wise except for the straight notes to syncopation feature. I'd love an explanation though in detail.

For the discussion about "E-note example", soundoffhear's explanation is pretty spot on! I can give an example off the top of my head just to be 100% clear. "Falling Slow" from Tori Kellys album, co-written by Max. I don't have the key in my head, only the chord progression. Let's say the song i in E-minor. It really doesn't matter!

The chorus melody lives around the G-note. (all G's in the example below, the beginning of the chorus).

                E min      D        C             
  (What if) -   I   -  mess -   up     
             Min third, Sus4,   Fifth

The melody starts on the minor third "I", pleasing, then becomes dissonant as it hits the sus4 at "mess" but quickly resolves on the fifth at "up", creating a relieving feeling for the ear. Very effective. The melody then continues on the G note until the last chord, which is a D major, where the melody finally lands on the tonic, creating yet another relief for the ear. Definitely not a Max invention at all but frequently used by him and his writing partners. Same principle in Teenage Dream which is somewhat pornographic in terms of pop music mathematics!

Offline soundoffhear

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2015, 07:50:08 AM »
Mind you, these are all off the top of my head and by no means an in depth study. These examples are rare in that they have mostly more than 2 note runs in which the intervals of the melodies from one song are replicated in another. The whole point here is showing that intervals that work are recycled for other songs. And the fact that we can see them so blatently used as first lines of chorus and chorus wrap ups is not so common. The trick as I said that most composers do is to use intervals sparingly here and there as to disguise them.

There are advanced techniques that I'm sure he is using and has practiced in his years of crafting. These techniques include taking the arc of a melodic line from one really good song and carving out everything except the notes that land on the strong beats (1 and 3 and the pickup prior to 1 again) then filling out the intervals around that skeleton. It is a case by case basis. At the end of the day these practices are for professional songwriters to keep their songs juiced and stay relevant year after year. You can just write songs off of instinct. And that is usually where the germ of an idea will still be used by people like Max, he then will start applying the techniques to flesh it out.

The truth about melodic math is Max Martin doesn't do anything that other composers don't. He is just more dedicated and uses all of the songwriting practices (matching syllable cadences, giving upbeat production to minor melody, tweaking intervals to boost the song, trimming the number of sections and moving parts to just the essential). He in fact says that there is no formula, pop songwriting is very difficult and he just works harder than a lot of other songwriters.

Backstreet - Shape of my heart/Celine - That's the way it is
first line chorus "looking back"/first line chorus "when you want"
end chorus "shape of my heart"/end chorus "that's the way it is"
BONUS I WANT IT THAT WAY BRIDGE ("From the way that it used to be, yeah")/Celine "I know what you're going through, yeah"

Avril - What the Hell/ P!nk - U + Ur Hand/Cosgrove - Oh Oh
Avril verse "making out with your friend/P!nk verse"know that it's going down"
Avril verse "messing with your head"/Cosgrove prechorus "why don't we make a move"/P!nk prechorus "put his hands on me"
P!nk chorus "You don't wanna mess with me tonight"/Cosgrove chorus "If you think I'll cry for you tonight"/Avril chorus "save me, baby, baby"
BONUS Katy HOT N COLD "someone call a doctor"/Avril What the Hell "If you love me, if you hate me"

Katy - One that Got Away/Backstreet - I Just Want You to Know
first line verse "summer after highschool"/first line verse "looking at your picture"
first line chorus "in another life"/first line chorus "i just want you to know"
chorus "we keep all the promises"/chorus "some days we make it through"
BONUS Kelly first line of chorus "Since U been gone"/Backstreet first line of chorus "I just want you to know"

Britney - U Drive Me Crazy/Backstreet - Larger than Life/Bon Jovi - It's My Life
The Britney melody only differs in that the scale was changed so that the 7th was not flattened (The songs came out within the same week. So probably being written around the same time, the skeleton of one was probably used for the other and he just raised the 7th in Lucky to not mimick the Larger than Life melody too much)
Backstreet verse "I'mma run and hide when you're screaming"/Bon Jovi prechorus "I ain't gonna be another face in"
Britney end of chorus "It feels so right"/Bon Jovi chorus "Heart is like an open highway"
Britney chorus thinking of you keeps me... "up all night"/Bon Jovi end chorus..."it's my life"
Britney prechorus "everytime you look at me"/Backstreet prechorus "all of our time's spent"/BONUS Britney OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN prechorus "Cause to lose all my senses"

Ke$ha - Blow/Britney - 3
"blow"/"180 degrees and I'm caught in between"

Tao Cruz - Dynamite/Usher - Scream
"saying ay-oh"/"scream yea-ah"

Katy - California Gurls/Jessie J - Domino
"You could travel the world"/"Every second is a highlight"

I'll leave the final two examples for someone else to have fun with. They are two of the easiest comparisons, you can use my method of quoting the intervals if you like!

Backstreet - The Call/Britney - Overprotected/N Sync - It's Gonna Be Me
Katy - Hot n Cold/Kelly - My Life Would Suck


« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 08:14:26 AM by soundoffhear »

Offline jelfmusic

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2015, 03:19:46 PM »
A lot to respond to. Firstly, I'll leave it up to the others to decide whether or not it is evident that there is some sort of silver lining in the use of certain intervals in the songs mentioned before. I don't hear it, and as far as planting the idea of a hook/chorus line or title in the verse, that is hardly Max specific, but also more or less standard practice, or tool of trade amongst songwriters. Alltough, very good tip for people who are not unhealthily obsessed with analyzing pop music. What I'm looking for is evidence of principles used by Max w/ disciples in a majority of tunes, as the case with some of the other principles mentioned earlier in the thread. My two cents are that just because a melody jumps from a tonic to let's say a minor third somewhere in two songs, doesn't mean that it is calculated at all. It is incidental. For example, California Gurls and Domino share no resemblance what so ever melody wise except for the straight notes to syncopation feature. I'd love an explanation though in detail.

For the discussion about "E-note example", soundoffhear's explanation is pretty spot on! I can give an example off the top of my head just to be 100% clear. "Falling Slow" from Tori Kellys album, co-written by Max. I don't have the key in my head, only the chord progression. Let's say the song i in E-minor. It really doesn't matter!

The chorus melody lives around the G-note. (all G's in the example below, the beginning of the chorus).

                E min      D        C             
  (What if) -   I   -  mess -   up     
             Min third, Sus4,   Fifth

The melody starts on the minor third "I", pleasing, then becomes dissonant as it hits the sus4 at "mess" but quickly resolves on the fifth at "up", creating a relieving feeling for the ear. Very effective. The melody then continues on the G note until the last chord, which is a D major, where the melody finally lands on the tonic, creating yet another relief for the ear. Definitely not a Max invention at all but frequently used by him and his writing partners. Same principle in Teenage Dream which is somewhat pornographic in terms of pop music mathematics!

This is very interesting, this is a element of Max's writing I've never been able to fully understand and as you mentioned a lot of great writers use intervals in these ways. I don't mean for this to turn into a theory lesson but just one question. In terms of pleasing the ear with the melody in relation to the chords I just want to clarify with you what notes are pleasing to the ear and what ones aren't, I have put down below so far what I know in relation to this but was wondering if you could help me a bit more with things like the 2 and so on....

For example say we'r in C and I'm singing a c note on the melody.

C (1) would be pleasing to the ear as it's the tonic.
Dm(2) would this be waiting to be resolved and not so satisfying as it's a second chord in the key? I'm a bit confused in relation to a c note what this would be.
Em (3)this would be strong, right? as it's the 3 in relation to the C which is being sung.
F (4) This is the 4 and would be creating tension like you discussed above, so that is clear.
G (5) This is the perfect fifth in relation to the C being sung so that's fine.
Am (6) Now this is a bit confusing, could you clarify wether this would create tension or not? as this is the root chord for the relative minor key.
B dimished (7) Now this would create LOADS of tension as it's diminished???

And just to annoy you even more... if you were to change the melody note from C to say D in the same key would you have to flip the whole structure to what each chord would mean to the D your singing or would it just be in relation to what key your in.... if that's not to complicated.....

It would mean so much if you could clean this up for me.

Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2015, 02:15:13 AM »
This is very interesting, this is a element of Max's writing I've never been able to fully understand and as you mentioned a lot of great writers use intervals in these ways. I don't mean for this to turn into a theory lesson but just one question. In terms of pleasing the ear with the melody in relation to the chords I just want to clarify with you what notes are pleasing to the ear and what ones aren't, I have put down below so far what I know in relation to this but was wondering if you could help me a bit more with things like the 2 and so on....

For example say we'r in C and I'm singing a c note on the melody.

C (1) would be pleasing to the ear as it's the tonic.
Dm(2) would this be waiting to be resolved and not so satisfying as it's a second chord in the key? I'm a bit confused in relation to a c note what this would be.
Em (3)this would be strong, right? as it's the 3 in relation to the C which is being sung.
F (4) This is the 4 and would be creating tension like you discussed above, so that is clear.
G (5) This is the perfect fifth in relation to the C being sung so that's fine.
Am (6) Now this is a bit confusing, could you clarify wether this would create tension or not? as this is the root chord for the relative minor key.
B dimished (7) Now this would create LOADS of tension as it's diminished???

And just to annoy you even more... if you were to change the melody note from C to say D in the same key would you have to flip the whole structure to what each chord would mean to the D your singing or would it just be in relation to what key your in.... if that's not to complicated.....

It would mean so much if you could clean this up for me.

I'm gonna try to explain!

Like in your example, singing a C note (in the key of C) would mean that the most obvious pleasing chords for the ear would be C (tonic), F (as C is its fifth) and Aminor (C = minor third). There are of course other chords that will work but will create a different feel, over D minor would mean that you're singing a minor 7th (listen to "Raise Your Glass", when she goes "all my under-dogs", that is a minor 7th used with great effect). Over the G chord, it's the sus 4 which would cause tension and that would benefit in using one of the more obvious pleasing chords after it to relieve the tension. Singing the C note over an E minor would also cause tension as it is the flatted 6th, and the C note and B note in the E minor chord will interfere with eachother. To me this is not at all as pleasing as a good use of the sus4 coloration. And as you said yourself, the B dim would probably not be such a wise choice to sing a C over, as it will create dissonance with the B note, and on top of that the ear has to cope with the flatted fifth interval already happening between the F and the B within the chord.

I don't really know how to answer the last question in a... pedagogical way! But the gist of it is, if you were to change the melody note to D, you'll have different colorations. Talking pop music, you would have less possibilities, and it would sound a little strange.

Take a standard progression in over C maj, F maj, A minor, G. Singing straight C's would sound pleasing (C), pleasing (F), pleasing (Am), tension (G), and then release when it starts over again.
Whereas with the same progression but singing D, the colorations would be less pleasing, or at least more complex, to the ear, as the resulting chord shapes including the melody would be Cadd9, Fadd6, Amin(add4) and G or something along those lines, where there would not be any clear relief until the last chord, and that would probably not be well suited for a pop song. 

Another good example of different pleasing colorations with the melody is "We are never getting back together". The key is G major and she's pretty much relying on the D note (at least on the downbeat of every chord change) throughout the verse over a chord progression of Cadd9, G, D, Em7. Max and Shellback have used variations of this chord progression numerous times as you have the the note as a constant throught the whole progression which makes for interesting melodic possibilities.
If you sing the melody but starting on the G note, you'll still be able to hold the note for the duration of the verse, but contrary to the D, the G note creates sus4 tension over the D major chord  that is resolved with the Em7 (minor third).

Did you understand any of that? I'm just rambling on here!

Offline soundoffhear

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2015, 02:35:41 PM »
Pretty amazing the examples of intervals are now being acknowledged.

Although, despite the numerous examples of melodic intervals being recycled across multiple songs, good ol' Alex La Bra dismisses this technique that Max uses as being non-significant.

I mean I don't know if you have Max's catalog in MP3 to side by side those songs, you could youtube it

it was and is a huge aspect of his 'melodic math' technique

but at this point it.is.just.l.o.l.

coulda been a great thread
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 02:40:28 PM by soundoffhear »

Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #35 on: August 06, 2015, 04:08:06 PM »
Pretty amazing the examples of intervals are now being acknowledged.

Although, despite the numerous examples of melodic intervals being recycled across multiple songs, good ol' Alex La Bra dismisses this technique that Max uses as being non-significant.

I mean I don't know if you have Max's catalog in MP3 to side by side those songs, you could youtube it

it was and is a huge aspect of his 'melodic math' technique

but at this point it.is.just.l.o.l.

coulda been a great thread

Where? Firstly I never said it was irrelevent (I'll say this again), but once more: This is a discussion on Max specific writing tecniques where we are trying to decipher the Melodic Math. You gave examples that didn't prove anything at all unfortunately. Things that are all to universal amongst writers. You're trying so desperately to find a small needle in a haystack with this thing. How do you not understand how incidental it is? Max has released what is it like 200 songs or something, if you were on to something it wouldn't be only two songs that "sorta" sounds like they are related. For the most part in your examples, ironic enough, it's not the intervals that stand out in any way, it's the similarities of some rhytmic content.

You said it yourself, Max doesn't do anything differently per se, and a lot of what has made him what he is, is that he has a nack for working with unexpected melodies. Take the "body tyyyype" thing from "Cool for the summer", "wee-eee" From "We are never ever..." the weird "Aiaiaiaaaai" from "Show me what you got" and so forth. Things that are definately not calculated, just genious writing. Falls more under the banner of "something weird and unexpected" which they have talked about.

What we were talking about before had was pure basic music theory, without melody intervals at all in fact.

If you still want to continue arguing, fine, but it won't lead to anything if you can't come up with a theory or proof on what sets Max aside in his use of intervals (or anything else that might be of interest).

Offline jelfmusic

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2015, 04:11:17 PM »
I'm gonna try to explain!

Like in your example, singing a C note (in the key of C) would mean that the most obvious pleasing chords for the ear would be C (tonic), F (as C is its fifth) and Aminor (C = minor third). There are of course other chords that will work but will create a different feel, over D minor would mean that you're singing a minor 7th (listen to "Raise Your Glass", when she goes "all my under-dogs", that is a minor 7th used with great effect). Over the G chord, it's the sus 4 which would cause tension and that would benefit in using one of the more obvious pleasing chords after it to relieve the tension. Singing the C note over an E minor would also cause tension as it is the flatted 6th, and the C note and B note in the E minor chord will interfere with eachother. To me this is not at all as pleasing as a good use of the sus4 coloration. And as you said yourself, the B dim would probably not be such a wise choice to sing a C over, as it will create dissonance with the B note, and on top of that the ear has to cope with the flatted fifth interval already happening between the F and the B within the chord.

I don't really know how to answer the last question in a... pedagogical way! But the gist of it is, if you were to change the melody note to D, you'll have different colorations. Talking pop music, you would have less possibilities, and it would sound a little strange.

Take a standard progression in over C maj, F maj, A minor, G. Singing straight C's would sound pleasing (C), pleasing (F), pleasing (Am), tension (G), and then release when it starts over again.
Whereas with the same progression but singing D, the colorations would be less pleasing, or at least more complex, to the ear, as the resulting chord shapes including the melody would be Cadd9, Fadd6, Amin(add4) and G or something along those lines, where there would not be any clear relief until the last chord, and that would probably not be well suited for a pop song. 

Another good example of different pleasing colorations with the melody is "We are never getting back together". The key is G major and she's pretty much relying on the D note (at least on the downbeat of every chord change) throughout the verse over a chord progression of Cadd9, G, D, Em7. Max and Shellback have used variations of this chord progression numerous times as you have the the note as a constant throught the whole progression which makes for interesting melodic possibilities.
If you sing the melody but starting on the G note, you'll still be able to hold the note for the duration of the verse, but contrary to the D, the G note creates sus4 tension over the D major chord  that is resolved with the Em7 (minor third).

Did you understand any of that? I'm just rambling on here!

OMG man, that was incredible helpful. Thank you.

Sor for future circumstances when I'm writing and having trouble with melodies and all that jazz, I can try finding a rhythm for the melody around the min 3, perfect 5 or tonic as their the pleasing notes within the key?

Do you have any more Max/Shellback examples that play with this technique?


Offline AlexanderLaBrea

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2015, 07:02:29 PM »
I'm glad! But note that this is very theoretical. When you get the hang Of it, it can definitely "get you there" faster as you'll instinctively know what notes Will probably work and the other way around. But you'll find that many choruses Of Max's start on the third and so forth. Definitely not all, but it's Quite Common to hang around the tonic in the verse and then lift the melody to the minor or major third for effect. I don't want to encourage only writing single note melodies Of course. But it is helpful to know the principles!

Yeah, raise your glass, same thing. Straight G's over G, D, C, then the lift over the Eminor chord Where she sings the minor 7th.

Just a post down, the New Hailee Steinfeld song (Savan though and Mattman & Robin, still same school Of writing). Your Body by Christina Aguilera, luke did a cool thing with this in Ugly Heart, you have "Release You" that Max and Shellback wrote for Megan & Liz, "What the hell" besinning Of the chorus. The pre chorus Of "Dancing crazy", "This is how we do", very interesting chorus Where she starts singing on a D over Am, G, Em, F. The release really doesn't come until the turnaround "do, do-do-do-do" Where she's dropped the melody to a C Which is more pleasing over the A minor. And then the melodic tail to Bring it home "this is how we do".

Cool stuff!


Offline soundoffhear

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2015, 10:15:16 PM »
Where? Firstly I never said it was irrelevent (I'll say this again), but once more: This is a discussion on Max specific writing tecniques where we are trying to decipher the Melodic Math. You gave examples that didn't prove anything at all unfortunately. Things that are all to universal amongst writers. You're trying so desperately to find a small needle in a haystack with this thing. How do you not understand how incidental it is? Max has released what is it like 200 songs or something, if you were on to something it wouldn't be only two songs that "sorta" sounds like they are related. For the most part in your examples, ironic enough, it's not the intervals that stand out in any way, it's the similarities of some rhytmic content.

Edit: I was sitting here thinking, "Is this guy trolling me? He can't see the drop dead similarities?" but LOL, I had to modify this because I just saw the other thread where you started becoming disgruntled on this topic.. I didn't know you had dismissed these ideas because you were offended in another thread... Which I'll quote the response from the person (My examples are more effective at showcasing the targeted intervals, his are kind of weak but still there):

Quote
"Oops I did it Again" vs "Baby One More Time" . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQXhzycu9no

"California Girls" vs "Tik Tok" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2dPA2dCRNY

"Cool for the Summer" vs "Domino" - Is there really a debate here? The chorus' are exactly the same

Amazing, that guy actually created audio samples for you to listen to and you couldn't hear the interval similarities! But understand something, I am not dismissing Max Martin as using cookie cutter techniques. I am showing his techniques. But maybe you don't have a good ear for melody Sir. Some people cannot hear intervals that well, it's true. Maybe you're more of a rhythm and lyric person as you have shown an affinity for showcasing Max's techniques in that capacity, which is great.

Everyone has their strong suits in the studio, which is what makes for great music collaborating... But be careful of dismissing something so obvious and letting your ego get in the way of yielding to good technique. As Max says "you have to be willing to kill your darlings". And Dr. Luke says "When we are in the studio it is a democratic process, may the best idea win"

You said only 2 songs that sound kinda related? You are not correct. I don't know if you actually listened line-by-line to the examples, there are 39 instances where the melody was actually directly copied across multiple songs. And that is just off the top of my head. By the way, his technique has evolved to where he is not copying long strings of melodic intervals as overtly as in those examples. But it definitely proves it is a conscious process that he utilizes.

To dismiss that as a non-technique is obvious you are covering up for your own insecurity that you didn't realize this as such a studied Max Martin junkie.

By the way you did ask me to provide the examples and happened to say Domino had no melodic line the same as California Gurls. I showed the direct melodic lines.. We are not just talking intervals here and there, we're talking 3 to 4 note exact copies.


People can just visit your profile and see that in your other threads you have debated almost everyone just for the sake of you trying to exert dominance. It is a pity you are not inclusive with ideas. If you open your mind, watch out, you might learn something.

Again, here are the examples I found with very little time or effort:
Backstreet - Shape of my heart/Celine - That's the way it is
first line chorus "looking back"/first line chorus "when you want"
end chorus "shape of my heart"/end chorus "that's the way it is"
BONUS I WANT IT THAT WAY BRIDGE ("From the way that it used to be, yeah")/Celine "I know what you're going through, yeah"

Avril - What the Hell/ P!nk - U + Ur Hand/Cosgrove - Oh Oh
Avril verse "making out with your friend/P!nk verse"know that it's going down"
Avril verse "messing with your head"/Cosgrove prechorus "why don't we make a move"/P!nk prechorus "put his hands on me"
P!nk chorus "You don't wanna mess with me tonight"/Cosgrove chorus "If you think I'll cry for you tonight"/Avril chorus "save me, baby, baby"
BONUS Katy HOT N COLD "someone call a doctor"/Avril What the Hell "If you love me, if you hate me"

Katy - One that Got Away/Backstreet - I Just Want You to Know
first line verse "summer after highschool"/first line verse "looking at your picture"
first line chorus "in another life"/first line chorus "i just want you to know"
chorus "we keep all the promises"/chorus "some days we make it through"
BONUS Kelly first line of chorus "Since U been gone"/Backstreet first line of chorus "I just want you to know"

Britney - U Drive Me Crazy/Backstreet - Larger than Life/Bon Jovi - It's My Life
The Britney melody only differs in that the scale was changed so that the 7th was not flattened (The songs came out within the same week. So probably being written around the same time, the skeleton of one was probably used for the other and he just raised the 7th in Lucky to not mimick the Larger than Life melody too much)
Backstreet verse "I'mma run and hide when you're screaming"/Bon Jovi prechorus "I ain't gonna be another face in"
Britney end of chorus "It feels so right"/Bon Jovi chorus "Heart is like an open highway"
Britney chorus thinking of you keeps me... "up all night"/Bon Jovi end chorus..."it's my life"
Britney prechorus "everytime you look at me"/Backstreet prechorus "all of our time's spent"/BONUS Britney OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN prechorus "Cause to lose all my senses"

Ke$ha - Blow/Britney - 3
"blow"/"180 degrees and I'm caught in between"

Tao Cruz - Dynamite/Usher - Scream
"saying ay-oh"/"scream yea-ah"

Katy - California Gurls/Jessie J - Domino
"You could travel the world"/"Every second is a highlight"

I'll leave the final two examples for someone else to have fun with. They are two of the easiest comparisons, you can use my method of quoting the intervals if you like!

Backstreet - The Call/Britney - Overprotected/N Sync - It's Gonna Be Me
Katy - Hot n Cold/Kelly - My Life Would Suck
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 11:05:51 PM by soundoffhear »

Offline sonnyblack2000

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2015, 11:05:56 PM »
I m liking this thread for the most part. Part of me thinks that some of the similarities in Max's songs comes down to his personal taste and aesthetics rather then craftmanship (that is there as well of course)
Intervals are important in building interesting melodies for sure, but we re not copying when we use a third in different songs, how many intervals actually sound good and feel goog when sung?
Also lots of common rhithmic patterns are used over and over cause they feel good not because we re applying a formulae...
I always understood the math part that Max and co are referencing was having a limited amount of building blocks (3 melodic elements per song for example) and contrast between sections (fast vs slow, low vs high) as well as having the proper lenghth to elements of a song (chorus coming in before the 1 minute mark etc)
It looks to me as thought its fairly basic stuff for pro songwriter their team is more aware of it and thus apply it more and/or are more critical of their own work. i remeber and article where one of the sweds was talking about the fact that for them there's no false positives unlike their american counterpart when producing/writing songs

Offline soundoffhear

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2015, 12:26:25 AM »
Just listen to those lyric excerpts side by side. We are not talking about a single interval here and there. We are talking entire melodic lines being repeated. And where there is a single interval, it is used in the same exact spot of the song structure. Beginning line of verse/chorus, end line of chorus across two or more songs. You are not seeing a pattern there? A pattern is something that is repeated.

Are you listening to those examples side by side?

People want quantifiable and repeatable 'techniques' to try to make sense of Max Martin's success. Most of the songs his proteges did all on their own are not that great of hits. It is not just repeatable stock technique. There is an art to intersplicing melodic lines that work. And I doubt Max even talks about that with his fellow writers. Sneaking in a melodic line or interval here or there is a sophisticated way of lifting a song. Not every songwriter does this, but the great ones use it as a technique.

Again, did you listen to the examples side by side?

Offline youngamerican68

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2015, 04:05:00 PM »
Thank you soundoffhear for this really interesting commentary. How does one use the information you are saying in practice? For example, in my writing I often come up with melodic fragments based on a chord progression which I will play in my head until I am graced with the next part. Oftentimes this does not happen so the piece is added to the pile of other fragments. Is there a more organized way to expand on these initial melodic parts?

Offline melodicmoonlight

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2015, 09:12:17 PM »
Dunno if this should go here, but Bonnie briefly talks about Max in an interview:

Quote
Q: Does Max Martin mostly write the vocal melody or does he do everything?

Bonnie: He mostly writes the vocal melody. He also produces, he's an incredible producer. So he does production and melody, occasionally he will have lyric ideas that kind of go along with the melodies that he gives me. But for the most part English is his second language so I do most of the lyrical stuff when I write with him.

Q: What's his first language?

Bonnie: Swedish.



http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/70734112 @ 18:12

sweetmelody

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2015, 09:03:48 PM »
Here are my thoughts.

There are clearly things that do and do not work in not only pop music, but all music. Since music is in fact math, there is no question that there are formulas out there. Once you've been writing for a long time I think these formulas are two-fold: 1) coming to you naturally, just from experience, trial and error, etc, and 2) coming to you based on your style. For example, take Ryan Tedder. He has a very distinct way of writing. You hear it a lot in his melodies and his chord progressions. Same thing with Brian Wilson. He had a very distinct way of chordal and melodic patterns, mostly rising up before falling. Same thing with Lennon and McCartney. Listen to their songs and you see a lot of similarities. Are there formulas there? Sure. But I think a lot of it is just their style, and style comes from a combination of outside influence and personal experience. I'm not saying that they didn't have their own little techniques that they used because they knew they worked. They probably did. But I highly doubt it was based on sitting there a calculating formulas. If it was that easy, everyone would have a hit. I think the formulas exist, but they exist differently in the hands of musical geniuses than in those that are not as musically inclined. Talent, experience, hard work and taste are essential to being a great songwriter, not just knowledge of music (keep in mind that Lennon and McCartney knew nothing of music theory or how to read music).

Back to Max. We know he has a method, as most great writers do. It's been pretty much confirmed if we infer the comments by Bonnie, Savan, Shellback, etc, correctly. Part of it is syllable counting, we know that for sure. Part of it is recycling melodies, we know that for sure. Everything else seems to be a wide open guess. Personally I agree with what's been written by both Alex and Sound. I think they both are on the right track. But I think both will agree that it's only guesswork on their part. They are identifying certain patterns, whether they are intentional or not. I think there's probably something else, perhaps many things in fact, that we are all missing. However, I think if you combine all the stuff we've read and shared around here, somewhere in there lies "The Secret Formula." And to me, "The Secret Formula," whatever combination of things it may be, is glued together by the most important concept of all: work harder than the next guy. Max and his team have worked extremely hard for so many years on their craft. They know it inside out mostly by just doing it so many times. And when you do something so much, over and over, you usually become pretty damn good at it. What good would e=mc2 have been to a 7 year old Einstein? What good would these formulas be to any of us without everything else that goes with it?

Finally, think about something else. For intents and purposes, Max Martin is a late bloomer. He was 28 years old before he had his first #1, and for all the success he had with BSB/Britney, things kind of slowed up a bit. If all of this current success never happened, I don't think Max would have been looked back as a legend. Great writer/producer? Yes, but not a legend. It took until Max was 37 years old to start the path to being a legend, and it took until he was in his 40's to finally be recognized worldwide for it. Why didn't it happen earlier? Why didn't he just continue having hits after BSB/Britney without that quiet period? Hell, why didn't he have a massive amount of #1s between 2004 and 2007, even though he had some big hits?

I'll tell you why:

Because what he's doing now isn't magic, or luck. And after all those years of struggle, Max came back in 2008 with experience and knowledge that was built on hard work. I'm not saying this math stuff is bogus, because I believe in it and want to know more. I'm just saying that the part that impresses me most about Max is his work ethic, and I happen to think that that is the real formula.

Offline j.fco.morales

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Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2015, 09:07:04 PM »
Man, when I read this I feel so lucky to have discovered this forum.