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The Songwriters => Max Martin and friends => Topic started by: jelfmusic on July 29, 2015, 04:11:46 PM

Title: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: jelfmusic 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
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: Adam B 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: sweetmelody 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!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea 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 ;) )
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: Voodoo 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
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear 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".
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: georg_e 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea 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!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: georg_e on July 31, 2015, 02:19:44 PM
                                                                ^    ^   ^
                               Great minds think alike at exactly the same time, lol!!!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: sweetmelody on July 31, 2015, 05:05:23 PM
Anyone want to share some specific example and details in songs? Very curious.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: georg_e 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.”
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea on August 01, 2015, 03:48:51 AM
A more specific example of some of the fundamental ideas - "I knew you were trouble" by Taylor.

Verse: (melody starting on the first beat, lyrics in "you"-form, dragging the listener in, first couple of sentences explaining the gist of the song)

Once upon a time (5 syllables)
(a) Few mistakes ago (5 syllables)
I was in your sights (5...)
You got me alone (5...)
etc.

Pretty "busy" melody in the verses, many words, 8th notes primarily (given the fast BPM).

Pre chorus: (note: melody NOT starting on the first beat)

And he's lo o o ong gone (7 syllables)
When he's ne-ext to-o me (7 syllables)
etc.

Very laid back melody here to balance out the busy verse. Focusing on long notes.

Chorus:

Starting on the first beat again. Characteristic "odd melody part", in this case "I KNEW you WERE trouble...", the weird interval choice. Repeating the title and "Trouble" often.


The basic principles are all there.

Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: jelfmusic on August 01, 2015, 01:03:27 PM
Thank's everyone for posting. Lets keep it going as this subject is very interesting as a writer and just as a general Max fan.

AlexanderLaBrea I never noticed that with 'Trouble'

I think 'Scream' by Usher is a classic Max Martin song as he uses the Melodic Math throughout and the song only has 3 sections (verse,pre and chorus) the bridge are ad libs and repeats of the title line. This is departing the melodic maths side of things but I also have noticed on the production side of Max that he has no more than 3-4 melodies production wise going on at the same time for example in Scream there is that synth part that gets introduced at the very start and they just control it with a high pass filter in the verses and it is continued on a loop for the whole song but on the chorus they just add a synth bass, pads and high hats.

notice how the first 2 lines completely mirror each over by having 10 syllables each

I see you over there, so hypnotic
Thinking 'bout what I'd do to that body
Then he goes to 4
I'd get you like
Then he goes to the refrain which is also repeated in the chorus but an octave higher so it doesn't get boring for the ear but is still memorable, giving the illusion that you've already heard the chorus before the chorus has actually happened
Ooh baby baby, ooh baby baby,
Ah-ooh baby baby ooh baby baby

he then repeats the whole thing again
Got no drink in my hand but I'm wasted
Getting drunk of the thought of you naked
I'd get you like
Ooh baby baby, ooh baby baby,
Ah-ooh baby baby ooh baby baby

This is the pre-chorus, they completely mirror each over with 9 syllables
And I've tried to fight it, to fight it
But you're so magnetic, magnetic
Got one life, just live it, just live it
The last line stops the repetition of syllables with 8 instead of 9. I find that Max does this in a LOT of his songs, the last line of every pre chorus is a different amount of syllables to what has previously come..... I think this is to break the cycle and to add suspense for the BIG chorus
Now relax, and get on your back

If you wanna scream, yeah
Let me know and I'll take you there
Get you going like
(this is the refrain from the verse but a octave higher)
Ah-ooh baby baby ooh baby baby
Ah-ooh baby baby ooh baby

This is the second cycle of what has just happened but with different lyrics.....genius.
If you wanna turn right
Hope you're ready to go all night
Get you going like
Ah-ooh baby baby ooh baby baby
Ah-ooh baby baby ooh baby
If you wanna scream


Has anyone else got other examples for all of us that are interested? I think 'Can't feel my face' by The Weeknd is a classic Max formula as well just from listening on the radio
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: georg_e on August 01, 2015, 04:23:51 PM
I've always been the most fascinated by the chorus of "Since U Been Gone", because it's a really unusual structure. It STARTS to "mimic" the first phrase in the expected way, but then goes off in a completely different direction with the "yeah yeah" line, and then closes with another new idea. Plus, the whole chorus is just 12 bars, but packs energy like a bomb going off!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: sweetmelody on August 01, 2015, 05:18:26 PM
Interesting stuff here.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales on August 01, 2015, 06:50:48 PM
I've always been the most fascinated by the chorus of "Since U Been Gone", because it's a really unusual structure. It STARTS to "mimic" the first phrase in the expected way, but then goes off in a completely different direction with the "yeah yeah" line, and then closes with another new idea. Plus, the whole chorus is just 12 bars, but packs energy like a bomb going off!

I agree with you.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on August 03, 2015, 10:39:20 AM
                     ^     ^    ^

              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.

There is enough space for us all to contribute but you and the La Bra fellow are very territorial over this concept. Syllable relationships to song structure are like elementary school in songwriting. Bonnie McKee is a lyricist, she had to get schooled on melody writing 101, because you can't just cram in any words you wish if the melody doesn't allow it.

Sing the ABC's and break down the syllables, it's common sense. It helps the listener organize what they are hearing and keep track. Hence how the hell kids remember their ABC's

Beginning: A-B-C-D-E-F-G
End: Now-I-Learned-My-A-B-C's

7 to start
and 7 to end
Well gee-whiz will you look at that? Must have been some genius that sculpted those syllable choices.


In theory you could have a single note melody with no intervals and just differing syllables. That melody would suck. The intervals are the crucial element of what bring the song to life. The "Weeee-eaahh" in Swift's Never Getting Back Together would be nothing without that very simple 2 note interval.

It is easier and smug to believe you understand how professional songwriters churn out quality consistently by focusing just on the number of syllables and how many melody parts are playing. In melody composition, the rhythm of the notes is secondary to interval choices.

To your point on syllables being paramount: I can assure you with all multi-decade successful songwriters it has everything to do with interval choices and knowing how to keep the melody alive with those tweaks. Syllables are implied with the style of the melody and rhythm in the writer's head and are very easy to spot for needed rhythmic tweaks (add a word here, elongate a word there, make the chorus choppier/slower, etc.) That shit is easy. The intervals are where the hammering of craftsmanship comes to bear.

To your point on arrangement (rule of no more than 3 melody parts in a song): I have said before that Max Martin's strongest skillset is subtractive producing and mixing. He has a real gift to only concentrate on instrumental elements that lend to the melody and vibe of the song and he doesn't add a touch more than those parts. He knows when to stop.

Here are just a few words from the people themselves involved with the music making. BTW I noticed you all tend to debate on almost every post you have on this forum. So I spared you no room, but try if you wish.

Max Martin: "We started to talk about mathematics in music. I come from a traditional songwriting background - I like nice melodies."

hmmm Max Martin didn't mention mathematics?

Shellback: "Max Martin knows how to make music that alludes to many different genres, he's really good at melodies"


Making music that alludes = using familiar intervals, not just syllabic rhythm

Studio background singer: "There was an 'A-chorus' and in the bridge a 'B-chorus' emerged. That was a new melody put over the music of the A-chorus. It was a certain type of formula"

Different melody= different intervals
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea on August 03, 2015, 02:26:22 PM
This is getting kinda funny. And once again... The original poster wasn't asking for YOUR take on Melodic Math, it was about what principles Max and his "crew" uses that fall under the banner "Melodic Math", and it is NOT intervals. My god. We're talking about western music here, and 7 notes give or take in any given key in the standard pop song. They are working with intervals in an interesting way sometimes, but when they do, the geniality (is that a word?) lies in the use of non-common intervals.

Just to make a point. You can have a great melody without intervals, but all melodies need to have rhythm. Which is something Max has utilized SO many times. Teenage Dream? It's all about the clever use of syncopation and straight notes. The melody is pretty much built on only one note until the "tail" (Don't ever look back...). Max is a genious at this one note thing and creating interesting things with rhythm and clever choices of tension and release. "Falling Slow", "Release You", "Rung Away With Me" (Shellback), etc. This is where the math of it all comes in. If you're singing a straight E over an C#m, B, E, A progression, the same note will have vastly different functionality over all 4 chords. And it will create tension over the B chord which is then released over the E etc.   

I agree with you that syllable counting is elementary. Do we know that the original poster knows these principles? No. And Max is more anal about this than probably everybody else out there. But as I said before, their "math" is built upon when to start on the downbeat and when not to, when to use a melody with long notes and when to use shorter busier melodies, using syncopation to balance out a melody that is otherwise straight 8th/4th/16ths and so forth. The interval choices are not a part of the math. WHEN intervals should occur, yes, which intervals to use, no. At least this is what we can conclude from all the interviews, articles, and also what has been said directly to me by people having worked with him.

I just want to respond to your quotes. The first one I don't even understand. Here he directly confirms that they use "mathematics"? Him together with Shellback.

Quote two: Melodies are just as much rhythm as it is intervals. This doesn't prove your point even for a second? Rhythm + intervals = melody. Rhythm can be math, the intervals is common music knowledge. Knowing how to put them together is what makes Max the best songwriter in the world, and this "alludation" and his gut feeling is what cannot really be teached. Otherwise there would be more Max Martins out there. There really isn't.

Quote three. I just sighed at this point. If you have listned to ANY Cheiron songs at all you'd know the principles applied to the counter melodies in the end of the songs. The principle was pretty much to use the same melody as the chorus, but move i back (or front, but usually back a beat), and then puzzle it together note wise to work with the original melody so that they can work together in the climax of the song.

I think I need to summarize... That intervals are important is an even more "101"-ish fact than syllable counting. What you need to understand though is that the melodic math is everything in between. The rhythmic structures, the song structure, how many seconds before you get to the chorus, how long intro's should be, syncopation choices, even lyrics to a certain degree, fundamental note choices (thirds etc.).
And outside all of these factors there will always be a human factor, where you need your trial and error. THAT is largly interval choices. And that is also why we need to stop talking about it in this particular thread in regards to the original poster. Because it is irrelevant to the topic!


 
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on August 03, 2015, 10:33:11 PM
This is getting kinda funny. And once again... The original poster wasn't asking for YOUR take on Melodic Math, it was about what principles Max and his "crew" uses that fall under the banner "Melodic Math", and it is NOT intervals. My god. We're talking about western music here, and 7 notes give or take in any given key in the standard pop song. They are working with intervals in an interesting way sometimes, but when they do, the geniality (is that a word?) lies in the use of non-common intervals.

Just to make a point. You can have a great melody without intervals, but all melodies need to have rhythm. Which is something Max has utilized SO many times. Teenage Dream? It's all about the clever use of syncopation and straight notes. The melody is pretty much built on only one note until the "tail" (Don't ever look back...). Max is a genious at this one note thing and creating interesting things with rhythm and clever choices of tension and release. "Falling Slow", "Release You", "Rung Away With Me" (Shellback), etc. This is where the math of it all comes in. If you're singing a straight E over an C#m, B, E, A progression, the same note will have vastly different functionality over all 4 chords. And it will create tension over the B chord which is then released over the E etc.   

I agree with you that syllable counting is elementary. Do we know that the original poster knows these principles? No. And Max is more anal about this than probably everybody else out there. But as I said before, their "math" is built upon when to start on the downbeat and when not to, when to use a melody with long notes and when to use shorter busier melodies, using syncopation to balance out a melody that is otherwise straight 8th/4th/16ths and so forth. The interval choices are not a part of the math. WHEN intervals should occur, yes, which intervals to use, no. At least this is what we can conclude from all the interviews, articles, and also what has been said directly to me by people having worked with him.

I just want to respond to your quotes. The first one I don't even understand. Here he directly confirms that they use "mathematics"? Him together with Shellback.

Quote two: Melodies are just as much rhythm as it is intervals. This doesn't prove your point even for a second? Rhythm + intervals = melody. Rhythm can be math, the intervals is common music knowledge. Knowing how to put them together is what makes Max the best songwriter in the world, and this "alludation" and his gut feeling is what cannot really be teached. Otherwise there would be more Max Martins out there. There really isn't.

Quote three. I just sighed at this point. If you have listned to ANY Cheiron songs at all you'd know the principles applied to the counter melodies in the end of the songs. The principle was pretty much to use the same melody as the chorus, but move i back (or front, but usually back a beat), and then puzzle it together note wise to work with the original melody so that they can work together in the climax of the song.

I think I need to summarize... That intervals are important is an even more "101"-ish fact than syllable counting. What you need to understand though is that the melodic math is everything in between. The rhythmic structures, the song structure, how many seconds before you get to the chorus, how long intro's should be, syncopation choices, even lyrics to a certain degree, fundamental note choices (thirds etc.).
And outside all of these factors there will always be a human factor, where you need your trial and error. THAT is largly interval choices. And that is also why we need to stop talking about it in this particular thread in regards to the original poster. Because it is irrelevant to the topic!


 

I see your problem. You have fixed ideas of what an idea should be and are not open to being inclusive with other ideas. I see that in your posts on other forum topics, masquerading as an authoritarian on a given idea going to the mat with absolutes against other people's ideas. When in reality you are too insecure to adapt your mindset to other possibilities and be inclusive.

You speak like interval choices are a red-headed step child, like "yeah intervals exist, but you can have really great songs with just one note". Obviously you are not a successful songwriter yourself with this viewpoint.

It is you all that are giving your own interpretation on 'melodic math' and wanting it to be exclusive (devoid of interval study). I provided you the quotes from the people he works with and Max himself. When they use the term melody, they are not talking about syllables friend.

You assume the original poster was asking about syllables, bar measurements and total quantity of melodic ideas per song because you have decided that's ONLY what melodic math means. I have flatly provided proof that interval choices are paramount to the process of melody construction, not some happenstance process as you like to think of it.

You've missed the point that an interval of a fourth followed by an interval of a second from the tonic is indeed math and is the only thing that can be studied across genres as being effective in hit songs, beyond chord changes.

Rhythm is instinctive, interval crafting and instrument arrangement are craft. Every successful songwriter has picked apart the intervals of their favorite melodies and cataloged them.

The rhythmic treatment is a stylistic choice. And this is confirmed when you look at covers of songs that have a different syncopation.

The idea that melody is primarily about the number of words used is an idea that is easier for the public to grasp. Hence why you have taken that concept and ran with it like an end-all expert on "melodic math" deeming that "interval choices are not a part of the math". You are not going to hear Shellback or Max speak about interval choices because it would be lost on the public. You can barely even understand the importance of it and you are posturing like you know how a melody works. So why in the hell would they talk about it in an interview?

Interval choices are not trial and error, there are common intervals among hit songs that are used over and over again over the decades.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: georg_e on August 04, 2015, 01:26:50 AM
           ^   ^   ^

    "Brevity is the soul of wit"
     William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea on August 04, 2015, 01:54:34 AM
I don't think you really grasped the point of this whole thread. I've NEVER said that intervals are not important. It surely is. And I would gladly discuss them in another forum where I (and you) are not responding to a direct question. This is a thread totally devoted to what we as outsiders (as I guess you're not either Shellback, Savan or any of the Wolf Cousins...) know about the melodic math. I'm sorry that you see me as some sort of evil mr. know it all, but given that I've studied Max's songwriting to unhealthy levels, and I circulate amongst the people either working with him now or have done so frequently in the past, I gladly share what I know to those who doesn't have the time or opportunity to take the time themselves. I'm no Billboard songwriter, and I spend time here because of my fascination with Max and that type of songwriting. I'm guessing the same goes for you?

There are only a select few that now all the ins and outs of the "Melodic Math". As I said before, some are public some are not as public and some I (and many of us in here) would give our left foot to know. But at least I can prove that time and time again, Max and his fellow companions have reused the same rhythmic structures, they continue to hit the chorus (amost exclusively) within 50 seconds, so on and so forth.
You sir on the other side, who are exactly as stubborn as you seem to think that I am, have not yet given any Max-related evidence of intervals that can be seen as a part of what they call "Melodic Math".

"Melodic Math" are helpful guidelines toward optimizing your song. If you have a cool chorus hook starting on the downbeat, then maybe it's a good idea not to start the verse and pre chorus on the downbeat as well. Same goes with rhythm. If the start of the chorus is chopped upp and syncopated, then a straight line to follow is the way to go to balance it out. If you havn't hit the chorus at 55 seconds, then maybe you should look at scrapping the pre chorus or whatever. There is a long list of things that are consequent in Max's songs, some 101'ish, some not, but listning to other writers, they are not nearly as consequent in using them. There seem to not be a silver lining in the use of certain intervals though, which is what we're looking for here. Maybe Elton John or some other really great writers have awesome theories on intervals, and I would love to hear them, but in this forum, we are focused on what can be purely pin pointed to Max's craft of songwriting.

If you can prove in any way that there is a certain set of intervals that Max uses (and that others fail to notice) then please prove me wrong and let me bow my head in shame, which I will. To me, intervals are incidental and it takes ear and gut feeling to write good ones. This is what Max has, Dr Luke has, and some others as well, and with their sense of melody and with help of the statistics involved in the "math" helps them become the world dominating writers they are.

I will point out though that you are absolutely right in what you said about Max's strenght being subtractive producing and what not. With all the mathematics in the world, he could not have been as succesful as he his without knowing when to remove stuff, when to let spaces be spaces, and when something is good or not. In later days, I'd say that DJ Mustard is a good example of the same principles, even if the music is entirely different. He may be the most talentless producer to ever have 7 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, but he KNOWS what'll work and what is a hit or not. Max does as well. Most of us will never have that ability. And that can never be written down in a formula as such.

Now, wine! 
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on August 04, 2015, 05:27:17 AM
I will make this as short and to the point as I can.

I don't see where, as you claim, the original poster was not asking about intervals.

I simply made a contribution to point out the black art of interval adjusting that every successful songwriter that lasts more than a decade uses.

I posited that interval adjusting is part of the melodic math approach. If you can refute that with evidence, rather than your false offense that I would dare contribute such a notion, I'm open to examining that evidence.

I study many great songsmiths and purposeful interval tweaking is just as much apart of Max Martin's melody craftsmanship.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on August 04, 2015, 06:48:55 AM
For those asking for examples of interval interplay used across multiple hits...

These songs use the same intervals in the verse and chorus for hook effect:
Britney - Not Yet a Woman: First line "I used to think" trains the ear for the first line of chorus "I'm not a girl" (feels like you've already heard it, because you have)
Backstreet - Larger than life: Same exact thing
Britney - Lucky: Same exact thing

As far as arrangement of static intervals vs large jumps used repeatedly, compare these songs verse-chorus intervals side by side:
Backstreet - Shape of my heart/Celine - That's the way it is
Avril - What the Hell/ P!nk - U + Ur Hand/Cosgrove - Oh Oh
Katy - One that Got Away/Backstreet - I Just Want You to Know
Britney - U Drive Me Crazy/Backstreet - Larger than Life/Bon Jovi - It's My Life
Backstreet - The Call/Britney - Overprotected/N Sync - It's Gonna Be Me
Katy - Hot n Cold/Kelly - My Life Would Suck
Ke$ha - Blow/Britney - 3
Tao Cruz - Dynamite/Usher - Scream
Katy - California Gurls/Jessie J - Domino
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: jelfmusic on August 04, 2015, 06:21:35 PM
This is getting kinda funny. And once again... The original poster wasn't asking for YOUR take on Melodic Math, it was about what principles Max and his "crew" uses that fall under the banner "Melodic Math", and it is NOT intervals. My god. We're talking about western music here, and 7 notes give or take in any given key in the standard pop song. They are working with intervals in an interesting way sometimes, but when they do, the geniality (is that a word?) lies in the use of non-common intervals.

Just to make a point. You can have a great melody without intervals, but all melodies need to have rhythm. Which is something Max has utilized SO many times. Teenage Dream? It's all about the clever use of syncopation and straight notes. The melody is pretty much built on only one note until the "tail" (Don't ever look back...). Max is a genious at this one note thing and creating interesting things with rhythm and clever choices of tension and release. "Falling Slow", "Release You", "Rung Away With Me" (Shellback), etc. This is where the math of it all comes in. If you're singing a straight E over an C#m, B, E, A progression, the same note will have vastly different functionality over all 4 chords. And it will create tension over the B chord which is then released over the E etc.   

I agree with you that syllable counting is elementary. Do we know that the original poster knows these principles? No. And Max is more anal about this than probably everybody else out there. But as I said before, their "math" is built upon when to start on the downbeat and when not to, when to use a melody with long notes and when to use shorter busier melodies, using syncopation to balance out a melody that is otherwise straight 8th/4th/16ths and so forth. The interval choices are not a part of the math. WHEN intervals should occur, yes, which intervals to use, no. At least this is what we can conclude from all the interviews, articles, and also what has been said directly to me by people having worked with him.

I just want to respond to your quotes. The first one I don't even understand. Here he directly confirms that they use "mathematics"? Him together with Shellback.

Quote two: Melodies are just as much rhythm as it is intervals. This doesn't prove your point even for a second? Rhythm + intervals = melody. Rhythm can be math, the intervals is common music knowledge. Knowing how to put them together is what makes Max the best songwriter in the world, and this "alludation" and his gut feeling is what cannot really be teached. Otherwise there would be more Max Martins out there. There really isn't.

Quote three. I just sighed at this point. If you have listned to ANY Cheiron songs at all you'd know the principles applied to the counter melodies in the end of the songs. The principle was pretty much to use the same melody as the chorus, but move i back (or front, but usually back a beat), and then puzzle it together note wise to work with the original melody so that they can work together in the climax of the song.

I think I need to summarize... That intervals are important is an even more "101"-ish fact than syllable counting. What you need to understand though is that the melodic math is everything in between. The rhythmic structures, the song structure, how many seconds before you get to the chorus, how long intro's should be, syncopation choices, even lyrics to a certain degree, fundamental note choices (thirds etc.).
And outside all of these factors there will always be a human factor, where you need your trial and error. THAT is largly interval choices. And that is also why we need to stop talking about it in this particular thread in regards to the original poster. Because it is irrelevant to the topic!


 


Hi Alexander

I found this really interesting what you was discussing below.

If you're singing a straight E over an C#m, B, E, A progression, the same note will have vastly different functionality over all 4 chords. And it will create tension over the B chord which is then released over the E etc.   

Could you elaborate on why this is by any chance? I'm aware of perfect 5th's and root notes etc but is there any other reason?




Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales on August 04, 2015, 06:36:27 PM
This post is getting weird. Calm down your egos.

First, we need to agree that a good melody is built upon rhythm and intervals. It's not necessary to have multiple notes, you named yourself some examples.
Another step we need to agree is the Bonnie McKee one: counting syllabes and adding a tale if necessary.
To have some kind of juxtaposition between each part of the song: lots of syllabes in a verse = long notes in a chorus (Taylor Swift's We Are Never... and Katy Perry's Hot 'n Cold in the other way).

--
A friend and I wrote a song with over C#m E Bb / F#m7 C#m G#m Bb progression with E and Bb being the lead melody notes in each part, all based in this Max math stuff.
If you want to listen and give me some feedback, would be great :D
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on August 04, 2015, 07:11:19 PM
Quote

If you're singing a straight E over an C#m, B, E, A progression, the same note will have vastly different functionality over all 4 chords. And it will create tension over the B chord which is then released over the E etc.   

Could you elaborate on why this is by any chance? I'm aware of perfect 5th's and root notes etc but is there any other reason?

The E note is a 4th in relation to the B chord. The interval of a semi-tone (two notes right next to each other and in this case the 3rd of the B chord and the 4th in the melody) creates major dissonance (a severe type of interval tension). The ear goes nuts over dissonance, so a dissonant interval is well placed here and there. Typically using the 4th as an interval against a chord is considered a 'suspended 4th', because you would briefly play that note and then move it back to the 3rd to let the ear hear the triad (1st-3rd-5th). In this case it is not a sus4. This is because the melody note which is a 4th plays simultaneously with the 3rd in the chord = right next to each other (same-time semitone 3rd/4th) very exciting interval that needs resolution immediately!

Did you listen to those Max Martin examples I posted? Side by side you can find the intervals that he used to great effect to make already established songs that we were familiar with translate to boost new songs he put on the market, just by using similar intervals here and there.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea 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!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear 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

Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: jelfmusic 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea 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!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear 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
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea 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).
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: jelfmusic 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?

Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: AlexanderLaBrea 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!

Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear 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
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: sonnyblack2000 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
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear 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?
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: youngamerican68 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?
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: melodicmoonlight 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
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: sweetmelody 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.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales on August 17, 2015, 09:07:04 PM
Man, when I read this I feel so lucky to have discovered this forum.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: Voodoo on September 06, 2015, 09:16:49 PM
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?

100% with you
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: Voodoo on September 06, 2015, 09:21:24 PM
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.

This too. Spot on man. It's the key to everything.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on September 07, 2015, 04:36:30 AM
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?

Arnthor Birgisson, who worked with Max Martin:
"Recycle parts of the verse, or parts of the song in the chorus. So that when the chorus comes you already heard the chorus, but it is in the beginning of the verse. That is actually Dennis Pop's formula that Max Martin took, and we all went like "you need to minimize the information for the listener". But that's the mathematical way."

"We did that a lot in Sweden especially 10 years ago. We listened to a lot of old songs and then you go "oh, that's a great little hook" and then you tweak the melody. We definitely do that. Reference and change it enough. It's a way of getting inspired."


Take the fragments that you have written and splice them together. This is where you can use the tried and true intervals from your favorite parts of songs you like to help bridge those parts.

Manufacture a two or three interval run based off of a part of a song you like elsewhere. Put that two or three interval run between two melodic pieces that you have written. Then tweak the intervals until they sound like they unify the different melodic fragments that you are working with.

It is like a band-aid of sorts. Putting a puzzle together until the pieces fit. A good example of a song from McCartney is "Little Lamb Dragonfly". Those were two separate melodic ideas that he found a way to bridge together.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on September 07, 2015, 05:16:26 AM
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.

Andres Carlsson speaking about Max's songwriting approach:

"There is a knack to writing a pop song, but it is mostly a state of mind. The only reason you see someone who had a lot of hits fall off the wagon is because they can't do it anymore. A hit song doesn't give you any sort of advance. You are always running there with the new kids that are hungry, that are eager to do this. That's why I really applaud Max, that has been hear for more than 20 years now writing stuff. Writing a hit song is about a formula, but it's about work skills; desire, passion and dedication most of all."
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales on September 07, 2015, 06:16:55 AM
Arnthor wrote with Max? I had no idea about that.

Thank you for sharing the info guys, this makes the forum worth it.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: NeutronSynergy on September 10, 2015, 11:39:09 PM
Don’t want to rush here or anything (by all means let the wisdom grow)
but what ever people are precisely referring in - with the definition ‘melody math’ ,
it can be said from what an interview of Sandberg directly quotes he uses
analysis of music , that’s really all + perhaps an adaptation of functional harmony and some common tools used over hundred years, like serialism, atonalism,non-harmonic notes etc.

Sandberg might be an analyst of music in classical sense.
But before writing a sentence about melody math it might help to actually know what it is..

That there either isn’t any or that - such term is used by one to describe their working methods and combination of writing
tools and skills they use.

So it must be let to be under subjective automation how much of this topic can be considered as a
joke , IF so then indeed it must be really the truly lucky one’s who have access to it.
(subjective automation is your brains. )

for those who are seriously proposing that -Cheiron song writers- have expanded western music theory? Some evidences might be interesting..
And you don’t have to donate body parts for hits.

there is one secret sausage what Cheiron song writers had - and its the way they composed breaking intuitively
different musical patters thru the studio equipment used,  for example the creative use of the Roland JV1080 is really one you cannot dismiss..

if there is expansion it is with the studio hardware and how they did affect to the experience of creation as well how music , melodies, different theory fundamentals could be threaten .  Beatles/Abba/Pink Floyd/ all have this landmark aspect to developed the possibilities of what you can do with sound in studio.. Notice how M A S S I V E the sounds are even on a demo’s , that’s probably one part why the name Max.

How ever .- Sandberg using similar elements and just copying same song over and over within the boundaries of functional harmony.
is a common practice - in sequencer it’s called “copy/paste”
making speculations around tonic-supertonic-mediant-Subdominant-dominant-submediant-Leading tone, with different intervals doesn’t really qualify and for what?  - everybody does it.

But what Sandberg and his advocates are actually doing - may be revealed a bit, so read on..

so to make the secret more interesting (because there isn’t any)  , and the possibility for all to gain access there - let’s create one!
Just because the fun and certain interest to information theory. I decided to try to simulate process where “melody math” would be really created on an
hypothetic manner !! and then imaginatively expand it , as a fruit of this we had to include the aspect of creative process too.

the starting point here is Sandberg’s song “pretend I’m a God” ,(Band: It’s Alive) we use the same approach to this writing as he proposed in one of his most controversial works..actually just to see : is it really the western tradition of music limiting or creative process itself, when it comes just making great new songs and striking melodies. this was a huge topic when atonalism was created, and we can definitely observe the stage of the current classic music which is rather surreal.

What I know before anything this happens,(an introduction to entropy) is that nothing will beat improvisation, it’s brains own way of “seeking the tonic” ,
that Pythagoreans describes as “the center of the universe”.
This essay inspired by this subject took me 30 min  writing in + 1 hour editing. remember that it’s a hypothetic proposal of simulated possibility , the name have abbreviations and contain bold
references as examples.

Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: NeutronSynergy on September 10, 2015, 11:49:29 PM
Melody math - the spectacular! spectacular! adaptive melody generator

I

The schenkerian    analysis reveals that:

“The intervals between the notes of the tonic triad form a tonal space that is filled with passing and neighbour notes, producing new triads and new tonal spaces, open for further elaborations until the surface of the work (the score) is reached.” 

secondly it’s touches the topics and methods of serial composition and set theory or musical
semiotics. to elaborate:

Quote
Transformational theory is a branch of music theory developed by David Lewin in the 1980s, and formally introduced in his 1987 work, Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations. The The goal of transformational theory is to change the focus from musical objects—such as the "C major chord" or "G major chord"—to relations between objects. Thus, instead of saying that a C major chord is followed by G major, a transformational theorist might say that the first chord has been "transformed" into the second by the "Dominant operation.
   
Analysis of theory:   
Quote
“it’s an systematic method for finding objective correlates to elements of musical structure.”

Thirdly this can be extended to include the systematisation of the creative process itself.
today it’s the creative process that is also being explored  entropy is the common factor again, and this bridges 
into subject what is called ‘lateral thinking’ . out of the box thinking, breaking the pattern , creative paths , etc..

Quote
According to de Bono, lateral thinking deliberately distances itself from standard perceptions of creativity as either "vertical" logic (the classic method for problem solving: working out
the solution step-by-step from the given data) or "horizontal" imagination (having many ideas but being unconcerned with the detailed implementation of them).

a major source of information about based on lateral thinking is  Oblique strategies written by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt
 ,to help break creative blocks. gives yet another set of tools of creating music.

II

actually in the first place I would how ever add that this subject fuses with Entropy on an isolated system such as music theory
- the physics come first in mind - this is what Neutron - Synergy (loosely) would lead to,
into entropy as an grand definition about so called ‘melodic math’ - this could be how ever  - melody math

Quote


Quote:

“The entropy of a sequence is measured with respect to a “model” of possible continuations.
The mode predicts upcoming events by assigning probabilities to the set of all possible next events.”


it can be said that

Quote
"Teaching thermal physics
is as easy as a song:
You think you make it simpler
when you make it slightly wrong."-

Entropy is a measure of disorder or unpredictability.

This way of comprehending the abstract of it - can help  when defining things purely on the mixing and sound field of things..
which is the box of jewels on modern pop ,  a territory constantly expanding. (check out articles about “gain wars”) you eventually have to deal with the subject of mass and the dynamic head room.
and Sandberg’s ‘sound policy’ is massive. 

III

There are some producers/Engineers - that compose music with sound, if not precisely so , the sound how ever becomes first and the next step is to observe while anticipate the desired effect - ( which entropy makes / produces)

VCA - faders applies entropy and fuzziness.
to mention fuzziness . fuzzy logics beginning from the late 80’s have created new set of adaptive tools that may also be a starting point to comprehend
the creative  process, this is specially healthy when you want to find your own way of materialising ideas - again out of the box.
adaptive equalisers reveals the common logic with adaptive mixing.

Speaking about fuzzy logics, there can be seen distant similarity with classic ‘black and white’ science theories as with the fact
that repeating music and playing music are two worlds in western music..

and then comes the subject of creating it: dot’s in a paper and on an recorded medium under the rules of electricity , bits and zeros.
Entropy together with lateral thinking or fuzzy logics towards composition
- can bring you a new alteration of an aspect of the analysis specially when dealing with massive sounds on the studio with the tech and the tools available- not just the composition ,
though entropy is present anyway.

Even further on -  all of these methods on abstract level can be  applied into the actual production cycle - a format producing.
to summ it up: With these tools you are actually altering and manipulating : The pythagorean driven theory of music theory

IV
speculation and extension 

The more mathematical approach to music lacks a common axiomatic foundation. So that might be a bit of an obstacle,
but not if you create it on a computer with Floating point instructions.

lt’s thought the pythagoreans of ancient Greece know to have investigated musical scales in terms of numerical ratios.
Aristoxenus said that music was used to purify the soul just like medicine was used to purge the body

Now to comprehend these methods as tools of creation not a forest to get lost -  it’s important to add that the inside the box thinking is the opposite of the “melody math” approach, we just created
So there are number of paths of creating with analysis on mind

It’s anyway always interesting if you lack all the necessary skills to do great - interesting music 
without any theory perspective.

It can be said that music in general includes the tool of hypothetical speculation ,
there is a mathematical value for each and every note.
intuition can play a big role when finding new melodies over common ones.

Ultimately it’s all however ITB- thinking. if you want to fit it into an isolated system such as music theory.
that box can be really a cage - if you lack the capabilities of just “painting” music..and that is exactly
that modern music tools encourages.

to even expand this horizon further:
Thirdly fuzzy logics on the late 80’s have created new set of adaptive tools to comprehend the creative
process, this is specially healthy when you want to find your own way of materialising things.

there can be seen distant similarity with classic ‘black and white’ science theories as with the fact
that repeating music and playing music are two worlds in western music and
then comes the subject of creating it  - you have a dot’s in a paper and sound thru microphone
on an recorded medium under the rules of electricity and bits and zeros.

V

Sound is a however free as a bird on a wind , and what makes things interesting is personal perception.- since it’s the brain system that ultimately bears the keys to the music,
few billions brain cells on each and every person is the barrier breaker.

on ancient times the references were bounded by the tools and knowledge of superstition and religious views.
I prefer how-ever improvising, it’s brains own system to brake the barrier (so to speak) automatically.
I guess early delta-blues fellows had that in their veins with the progression of guitar into e-guitar. 

This is the modern approach to it. musician like Tom Waits have given their own meaning and also extended the exploration of the creative process,
which is exciting because there are completely new variations and flavours to be found found when creating new stripes with a box of used matches - like  blues or folk could be described.

The mythic and and spiritual definition’s are as well are alive together with modern spectrum of these things.
Beatles was eventually all about spiritual and mythical exploration.

In a way the analysis of music tries to achieve the same thing and entropy is automatically present - whether you reckon or not
it’s good to be able to separate purely technical healthy musical aspect from something that is derived from the so called old ways and mythology/tradition

Which can have a tendency of being ultimately blocking than leading into open and creative territories, if you know what melody math is (The real
version and variations of it could be built around probability math) ..it might help. to actually see why it's been considered by to be the other way around.

The reason mentioned is that there are different path's that may lead into even completely fresh and new type of aspect to create material
and some succesfull musician's of the rock and pop-era might even have had very weak knowledge of what is melody m..err what is based of Pythagorean system of defining music  - but extremely strong music-bound ambition, so strong that it have resulted a creation of new and still "copyrighted" - ways to create their own music, the term  talent come's up. there are many paths to make music , Sting for example is known to
have a metaphor towards "journey of music" by comparing it to his garden Labyrinth. Many giant's of record sales like Abba or Pink floyd naturally had some influence on to  the way music is composed as well shaped the creation experience too strongly with the use of studio tools -  while utilising different way's of comprehending music . There is definitely two worlds between the music made by the person in it's subjectivism while there is
a world of make music strictly with guidelines without even actually knowing music.. which is very controversial.
Because many professionals tend to make music at first place not knowing the certain system of imprisoning ideas and different values.
Sandberg's music is full on intuitive elements..
..this all comes down to musician's abilities: Talent and professionally are at the same time the most under and over rated values in the world.
ie. If Mozart saw music as set of tools that could be used to push out his vision and melodies on his mind,he also had the possibility
to try to create music movements- thru the writing tools generating certain movements within the means of music theory.
not hearing or imagining a single sound..if he could now read Oblique strategies he could add a surprise - element . a hook so to speak
just by choosing a random method to proceed.
if this would be true -  in totally bizzare way - with bigfishaudio.com you too can compose like mozart!

The Yes - album “Going for the one” vs all the previous work of the band is a fine example , a dramatic shift on working with music. ie. making a total pop album.

So there are number of paths of creating with analysis on mind
It’s anyway always interesting if you lack all the necessary skills to do great - interesting music without any theory perspective.

There can be actually found similarities with the song “I pretend I’m a God” and the verse generated by this text “there is no melody math so I create one!”. you see you can create your own song by “using” ,  intervals of an popular song. you dig.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: soundoffhear on September 12, 2015, 10:04:31 AM
NeutronSynergy has some decent points. I'll summarize for the faint of attention:

1) Creative thinking around using studio equipment, mixed with improvisation will inevitably lead to interesting melodic ideas that will jump out to be developed (why Max always has a recorder running during writing sessions with Taylor Swift)
2) Lateral thinking strategies being applied to those melodic ideas will allow you to organize them in unique unconventional ways that will beat any straightjacket-type music theory approach
3)Following your instincts is what songwriting is about ultimately and most western pop/rock songwriters would do best to answer the question "How do you write your great songs?" with "I start playing around on an instrument and follow my instincts as I go and eventually a song comes to life"
4)Using melodic intervals that tickle your fancy from other pop songs will help you flesh out your rough ideas, or inspire you in new directions
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: lukeskywalker on September 14, 2015, 01:01:52 PM
I totally agree with this quote from SweetMelody:

"Because what he's doing now isn't magic, or luck. 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."

My question to the community is about the Business side of Max's "Formula" and the countless other's hard work involved. Basically, how much the team he has amassed around himself contributes to his (their) songs becoming hits. So without infusing so much of my own prejudice, I'll leave it up to the community to discuss the influence of:

This list is not exhaustive so please add where people are missing!!

Business side...
Tom Talloma
Martin Dodd

Almost all lyrics since Cheiron days...
Savan
Bonnie

Cheiron Days Lyrics..
Andreas..

Co-Producers...
Rami
Luke
Shellback
Ali
Ilya

Recent mixing...
Serban

About the 10-20 other mostly young swedish producers he brought on to work with him in the old marilyn monroe house he bought recently in LA.. (on Doheny)..


Would Max be Max without these people? How much are they part of his formula?

PS.. Please no TROLLS or HATERS on this inquiry, let's just be cool and discuss like civilized MM fans, word?













Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: sweetmelody on September 14, 2015, 07:41:33 PM
Welcome, Luke.

Don't forget to add Michael Ilbert to the list.

Also, Max has been working with Serban since the early 2000's. These two guys are as key to Max's success as anyone, at least from the technical side.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: keyman19 on February 14, 2017, 05:28:32 PM
All of you guys are so wrong about what melodic math is, at least the ones I've read. You make up your own stuff. That is typical of today's kids.

This is what melodic math is according to the author of The Song Machine:

Swedish writers are not partial to wit, metaphor, or double entendre, songwriting staples from Tin Pan Alley through the Brill Building era. They are more inclined to fit the syllables to the sounds—a working method that Martin calls [“melodic math”—and not worry too much about whether the resulting lines make sense. (The verses in “I Want It That Way,” for example, completely contradict the meaning of the chorus lines.)

The first time this became really apparent to me was the song "Heart Attack" by Demi Moore. So many non-sensical lines!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales on April 12, 2017, 05:42:44 PM
http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7759634/lorde-green-light-max-martin-criticism

I absolutely agree with Max.

I don't like the song at all.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: bugmenot on April 12, 2017, 09:54:34 PM
http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7759634/lorde-green-light-max-martin-criticism

I blame  Antonoff. His "strange piece of music" is more cliched than the most bubblegum cliched song on radio disney.
And Lorde grows an ego of a "genius", while her previous album is 99% of Joel Little.

Funny comment (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/magazine/the-return-of-lorde.html#permid=22129608):
Quote
Green Light starts out exactly like Adele's miserable song "Hello" and then winds through some single note keyboard hey-we-don't-really-have-a-melody segment and finally drops into a dance beat I've heard, conservatively, 16 trillion times. The thing is, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In other words, when a song like "Hello" wins Song of the Year at the Grammy's, the bar is so low anything and everything becomes a song.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales on April 13, 2017, 02:14:33 AM
I don't like Jack Antonoff neither.

But I love the new Bleachers single produced by Greg Kurstin and help from Vince Clark.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: SongsByGROVER on April 14, 2017, 11:04:29 PM
Getting back to the toplc of melodic math...

On the Ross Golan podcast, Bonnie McKee says the rules are more relaxed lately (and that podcast was clearly recorded about a year ago, since they refer to Prince still being able to release music).

The song that immediately came to mind for me as an example was Bryson Tiller - Exchange, which is VERY loosely written as hit songs go, not even sure it really has a chorus, but still I guess not that odd as far as the urban market.

But since then (last summer), I feel like pop has got even tighter with it's math forms. Anyone else have any thoughts on that?

IN terms of overall structure song-math, I feel like the bridge might be a dying thing? I'm sure I've heard more songs lately than usual where it's verse cho drop verse cho drop end (though off hand i cant think of any...)


As far as Lorde, she painted herself into a corner with album 1 IMO, whatever she does will always have to be more generic than that, unless she went the other way and became VERY experimental. At least it has a cool modulation in Green Light, a little more interesting than your typical 4 chords!
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: buzzhoven on June 04, 2017, 03:33:47 AM
Hi guys this is my first ever post and I got to say what a cool thread this one is despite the squabbles or maybe because of them ,it inspired me to register.
I couldn't help but think in the earlier spat going on between melodic interval and and syllabic rhythm, that both are equally important in the melody math concept.
rhythmic patterns in the melody line are one dimension (say horizontal)
and pitch or note intervals are another dimension (say vertical)
together you can create a 2D shapes like lines that snake up and down like a graph.
I read somewhere that Max plays with these shapes and says if one line goes up then the next should go down or mirror it
in some way.
eg taylor swift wildest dreams bridge melody
"You see me in hindsight"  (goes up / fast rhythm)
"Tangled up with you all night" (goes up / fast rhythm)
"Burn it down"  (goes down/ slow rhythm )
it's like the third line, tho completely different,is referencing the first two ,
 and your brain recognises the pattern.
and it's a satisfying cycle completion of some sort

 I always see melodies like lines on a graph and Max songs in particular have
these graphic patterns (contrasting repetitions and inversions )
and this is both pitch interval and syllabic Rhythm dancing together.


Also I've definitely noticed more  these days the melody starting on different beats of the bar in differing sections

e.g. Blank space alpha verse starts on the 2 (nice to meet you..
                         beta verse (secondary verse melody)starts s on the 1 (oh my god....
                         chorus is on the 1.5 (so it's gonna...
it creates such a change in feel between parts

It's interesting to think all these math patterns can be built into just in the melody line, so will work well being sung
without the music.
 then chordal and harmonic arrangement and production stuff can build it even more
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: bugmenot on June 06, 2017, 07:01:04 AM
if you figure it out and share it with everybody on this forum you'll be fucked.

Consumer society have nothing to do with this common sense. The more consumers spend the more they spend. Shopping is addictive.

Quote
We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose.

Steve Jobs

One hears the song on the radio and like it, one goes to the iTunes to buy it, then one sees other song in side menu, your song, preview it and like it too, buys it. Without that first song one would not open iTunes store this week. Then buys the third song. And the fourth.

Generosity and cooperation are a winning strategy.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: j.fco.morales on September 07, 2018, 08:27:13 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcmrgTNE9Cs

Do THIS with every song you write

Interesting approach.
Title: Re: MAX MARTIN MELODIC MATH. Help
Post by: Phantom9d on September 09, 2018, 03:15:38 PM
It's important to remember that it's not just about the musical "math". You should (in my opinion) as a composer/artist focus more on bringing soul and life into a piece of music. There is certain rules you could go by, also patterns, arrangements etc.. but in the end it has to feel right. There is already so many examples of static songs that uses all these "tricks".. but without the soul they end up dead and boring.