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Cheiron Sound.. need your help!

Author Topic: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!  (Read 40286 times)

Offline georg_e

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #105 on: November 26, 2010, 01:40:53 AM »

                          That's a great analysis, very true and clear. Especially like how you described the ''A  B  A  C''  form, both for melody and lyrics!  Plz do more   :-)

Offline Tony G.

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #106 on: November 26, 2010, 10:19:59 PM »
Hi cowboys,

since georg_e wrote "Especially like how you described the ''A  B  A  C''  form, both for melody and lyrics!" I took a look at "...Baby one more time" again:

A My loneliness is killing me
B I must confess, I still believe
A When I'm not with you I lose my mind
C Give me a sign Hit me baby one more time

I noticed that A and C, which have the same melody, contain the same content. Thank you, Georg (Du hast einen deutschen Namen! ;-))

So here's my second part:
When I concentrate on listening to chord sequences I notice that it's almost the same as the first 30 excercises from any classical harmony training book. I learned a lot of different approaches to harmony. The one that fits best to Cheiron music is for me the classical one.

Details:
- Ballads are very often Major based
- Funky pieces and music with emphasises the beat is written in minor.

For the second category:
- Harmonic minor, no modal basements, no modal interchanges. Exception "Larger Than Life" (Backstreet Boys) has an F Major Traid. That would be Dorian Mode in the key of C Minor.
- No secondary dominants.
- Tonic chords are pure triads (no Minor Seventh Chords, no Major-Minors). An exception is "Cant' Make You Love me" by Britney Spears. There is a bridge after the second chorus which contains a Cm7 tonic chord play by a Clavinet.
- The two most important chords with subdominant function are the fourth and the sixth degree. In C-Minor it would be Fm and Ab. Example: (You Drive Me) Crazy : Cm -> Ab -> G7 -> Cm
- These two subdominant chords are not used to give an extra color. They are always before Dominant chords. Example: Everybody (Backstreet's Back) Bbm -> Gb -> F
- No use of the modal like fifth minor degree (Gm in the key of C Minor). The fifth degree has always dominant function (G or G7).
- No chord extensions (9,11,13).
- If a chord has Dominant function, it always goes back to the tonic. Never to subdominant, like in blues.
- If you want to compose music in Cheiron style and you just lay down the chords of your songs it should sound like a Choral.
- In some tunes the chord sequences of the Verse and the Chorus are equal. A different chord sequence can be found then in the Pre-Chorus. "(U Drive Me Crazy)" by Britney Spears has alomost the same chords in the verse as in the chorus (Cm -> Ab -> G7 -> Cm). The Pre-Chorus ( . . . Everytime you look at me . . .) is different since it starts with Fm7.

For the ballads the same "rules" are used but there are differences:
The ballads tend to be gernerally a little bit more harmonically tasty:
- Use of chord extensions. These extensions are sustained notes. A good example is "Sometimes" by Britney Spears. The Pre-Chorus (I Wann believe in everything . . .) starts with a II chord (Cm), that has a Bb in it so it's Cm(add11). This note is sustained throughout the Pre-Chorus and gives a little bit more harmonic color.
- Change of the key signature in different parts ("Drowning" by Backstreet Boys)
- Chord inversions to create linear basslines.
- Use of secondary daminants (before going to VI)
- Suspended fourths

I have two hints for everyone who want to analyse music in general.
1. Look for Instrumental versions.
2. Edit the audio file that your hear the difference between the left and right channel.
As an example I uploaded the Chorus of "Oops I Did It Again" by Britnes Spears. It contains four sections
1. Original
2. Original with Center Cut
3. Instrumental
4. Instrumental with Center Cut
Here is the link:
http://rapidshare.com/files/433333197/Oops.mp3

So I hope I could help everone a little bit :-)
I think I will write something about Arrangement, Production and Mix tomorrow . . .
There is one thing left I wanted to say:
- There is no Cheiron music mixed and mastered in 5.1 as mentioned earlier. If you buy a normal Audio CD, it is always the same format: Stereo, 16bit, 44.1 kHz. If you have a 5.1 System (like mentioned on page 1 or 2 in this thread), this system emulates 5.1 sound by phase-inversions and that kind of stuff, that's the reason why some elements come out more poweful.

Good night, friends!

Offline Tony G.

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #107 on: November 27, 2010, 07:37:32 PM »
Hello Guys,

as I mentioned two Days ago, here is my last Part about my Analysis: Arranging and Production
It's very dificult for me to put everything I noticed in a good Form and Concept. I try to categorize first by

Instrument and then by Mixing Tool:

Arraning In General:
There is something in Pop Music that I personally call the Who-the-X-is-Alice-Syndrom. I think everyone knows this

Song by Smokie. It's not that I don't like Smokie. They are an important part of the Pop Music History and I advise

anyone to listen to those great records from the 70s! Also the Lead Singer Chris Norman had a great Hit here in

Germany in 1986: "Midnight Lady"!

Back to topic: If you listen to "Living Next Door to Alice" then you notice that every Instrument is just playing

its Instrument-Typic Patterns. It's the most standard way to arrange a song you can think. I know a lot of

Songwriters who are an fact good songwriters but are not very far into Arraning. They write Lead Sheets for the

Band just with Chord Symbols and every Song sounds the same.

That isn't Cheiron. Cheirons music has its flavor from licks and specific Lines. That makes it so Cheiron! Every

song has not only Personality in its Composition and Lyric, also in its Arrangement. Good examples of that are

"...Baby One More Time" (the Piano Octaves at the Begining), "Get Another Boyfriend" (The Lick that is played

throughout the verse). "Lucky" (Verse pattern). Also remember the great lick from "Larger Than Life". I personally

think this kind of lick-bases Arraning Techniques come from Hard Rock and Metal Stuff. We all know Max Martin's

Roots. ;-)

Timing/Groove:

In my Opinion this is the most underestimated Topic in the discussion of the Cheiron-Sound-Secret. I think almost

no-one would call "...Baby One More Time" a typical Half-Time-Shuffle and in Fact, it isn't, but there are very

rare things (timing-wise) in this song! All 8th's are straight and on-top, but listen very carfully only to the

Bass. Any sixteenth notes are shuffled in the Bassline! Listen to the verse. In the fist bar, one sixteenth Note

before Beat 3 there is a c in the Bass that is really ternary. BUT: There is also a shaker in the 4th Bar of the

Verse and in the 8th Bar. This Shaker plays straight 16th's!

Another thing about Timing: Everyone of you, how really studied und practised Micro-Timing should recognise this:

The Bar right before the Breakdown contains a Guitar Lick that is really laid back. So the different Ways of Timing

in "...Baby One More Time" are giving a lot of "Life" and "Spirit" to it.

By the way: There are a lot of tracks from Elvis recorded in the 50s where almost every Session Musician has a

different Shuffle. Great Recordings! I can advise them to Everybody!

"Tearin' Up My Heart" by 'N Sync is real Shuffle. It's like every sixtheenth note is played on top of the first and

third part of a sixteenth triplet. It seems that the later suff is timing-wise more complicated. Kristian Lundin

Stuff tends to be more straight on top like "Bye Bye Bye".

Drums and Percussion:

A very difficult topic, since I'm not that far into Drum Programming. I really couldn't say where the Samples come

from like other Guys before me in this Thread but I think there are no real Drums in any Cheiron Songs. Maybe I

forget Something but are there any Rock Productions recorded at Cheiron? Already mentioned is the typical open Hi-

Hat on the "3-and". In generell Kristian used different Snare Drums than Max. I think the secret of the ...Baby-

One-More-Time-Snare is that it is a combination of at least two samples. One is really like a Drum Machine Snare

and the other One like a Sample of an acoustic Snare. Different to standard Pop Songs, the Drums don't play much

Fills. In "...Baby One More Time" the Fills are played by the shaker and sometimes by an open Hi-Hat. In "(You

Drive Me) Crazy" (The Stop Remix!) you hear two toms playing a little subtile Fill leading from the B-Hook after

the Breakdown the second last Chorus. But remember: What is the function of a Drum-Fill? It ties the different

parts of a song together. And this function is often done by other Elements like Swishes or inverted Orchestra

Hits. Also the Bass sometimes plays some extra Notes after eight Bars. In "(You Drive Me) Crazy" (The Stop Remix!)

and also in "Oops!... I Did It Again" there is the same percussion part in the Chorus! It sounds very good. It

contains Ride Cymbal, Cabassa and Shaker. I rebuilt and programmed it. You find it here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/433497284/Percussion.mp3

Bass:

The Productions that have a lot of Funk Influences have a real Bass Guitar Part in it. More Dance orientated Tracks

have Synth Basses that actually sound like Synth Basses and doesn't imitate Bass Guitars.

Guitar: The first important category of Guitar parts is like in "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)": 8th Notes

throught, the second and fourth beat short, every other beat long. Songs with funky influences have a funky Guitar

with Wah-Wah playing almost nothing. Just little fills. Distorted guitars are used in "(You Drive Me) Crazy" (Album

Version) and "Larger Than Life". Nota bene: Larger Than Life is almost a Rock Song. I played it in a band. We

hardly changed the original Patterns, just played the Drum part on real Drums and used a harder distortion. Since

"Lucky" sounds a little bit as "Stand By Me" (Ben E. King is really a very good soul singer, I like his music, he

made so many good songs), there is a guitar rhythm like in 60's songs.

Backing Vocals: The backing Vocals in Cheiron songs follow some rules. In Backstreet Boys Songs the highest voice

is the root on the tonic so thar the combination Leading Note - > Root is on top. That's the reason why the Dance

Songs (Not the Ballads) by the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync are written in around C-Minor so there is C4 on top. One

of my Cheiron Favorites is (altough I like the Britney stuff most) "Get Another Boyfriend" by Backstreet Boys. I

edited the song in a way that you can hear all Backing Vocals:

http://rapidshare.com/files/433497208/Get_Another_Boyfriend.mp3

Another thing I really really love is the Introduction of "I Want You To Want Me" by Solid HarmoniE. Wow! This is

real Polyphony! I'm not talking about ployphonic Ringtones or polyphonic Synthesizers but about a composing

technique that is older than the Major Triad! For me the Introduction sounds almost like the music of Giovanni

Pierluigi da Palestrina who was the master of polyphonic vocal music of the 16th's century or J. S. Bach.

Synthies I (Long notes and Pads):
It's very important for me to mention that one of the most sigificant arranging techniques at Cheiron was using no

Pads at all in the Verse of some Songs. The Ballad have very Pop typical Pads but the funk influenced Britney-

Spears-Songs have somthing that sounds like Synthie Strings. They are not played in the typical Band Keyboarder

Range around middle c but one octave higher. All Pads in Cheiron Songs seem to have Layerings and these Layerings

seems to get more in the Chorusses after the Breakdown or B-Hook. Sometimes just the Upper Note is layered one

Octave lower by a different sound. But how many Pad Sound are axactly there is hard to determine. String Elements

in Ballads are just like Main Stream Pop Ballads. The Voice Leading in sustained chords is very natural allthough

it doesn't always follow the rules of forbidden Parallels and right Resolutions.

Synthies II (Melodic Elements):
In Chorusses of Cheiron Songs the Melody is very often dubbled by Synthie Bells. That reminds me on ABBA. There are

also licks and Patterns played by Synthies for Example the Piano Octaves from "Baby One More Time" ore the Verse-

Lick of "Get Another Boyfriend".

Synthies III (Orchestra Hits):
The "Cheiron Hits" are mentioned earlier in this thread. They are all made by several Layerings and with a lot of

Instruments. It was also mentioned that every Act seems to have its own Hit. In "Larger Than Life" there is a

Talkbox.

Synthies IV (Dance music-like patterns):
Sometimes you hear some arpeggiated Synth Figures.

Production follows . . .

Offline Raul_esp

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #108 on: November 28, 2010, 03:37:52 PM »
Tony you have an amazing knowledge of the music  ;D

Offline Izalightblue

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #109 on: November 28, 2010, 05:13:12 PM »
Tony, you're amazing! Congrats and thanks for all that! ;)

Offline Tony G.

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #110 on: November 28, 2010, 09:30:54 PM »
Hi Everyone,

thanx for your reply. So now I know that at least two people read my Analysis. =)

Now it's about mixing:
To find a good Concept I divide the Mix in six Elements like Bobby Owsinski did in his Book:

Balance:
I would say that the Balance in all Cheiron Mixes is very mainstream-like. The Vocals seem to be on an equal level with all other Elements.

Panorama:
The late Work of the Cheiron Studios consists of Songs with a Lot of Tracks. If Elements are very little they are panned extremely left or right.

Frequency Range:
This is one of a Topic in Mixing that makes Cheiron definitely more than Average. I'm not as far into Production and Mixing as others who took part in this Discussion but I'm stil as sensitive that I sometimes hear Mixes where some Elements seem to struggle against each other because their key frequencies seem to be the same. I feel in all Cheiron Mixes you can hear all Elements very clear. If you had the Possibility to hear the tracks seperately you would notice that every track sounds small. All vocals have a large Low Cut. So I think they used Equalizers to minimize frequencies below 400 Hz. That's one reason for the clearity in the Cheiron sound.

Dimension:
Reverberation and Delay are my weakest points. I can't analyse them. :-(

Dynamics:
Compression is on of the key to Cheiron. In some Tunes it is used very hard like Britney's "You Drive Me Crazy" (The Stop Remix!). All the Orchestra Hits and the Main Riff (C-C-G-G-Ab-Ab) are hard compressed, I think when Layerings occur, the Intruments are compressed seperately and together in Bus Compression.

Interest:
All existing Tools that are used in Cheiron Songs to bring out the important parts.

Another tip for everybody who wants to analyse Cheiron Music. In some Yamaha Keyboards there is a Style called "USPop". This Style is very Cheiron-Like. You can listen to the Tracks seperately but it's only like 20 % of what a full Cheiron Track without Vocals would be. I uploaded Intro & Ending I & II:

http://rapidshare.com/files/433726913/USPop.mp3

Bye bye and good Night!
For 'N Sync Fans one word more: Bye bye bye and good Night!

Offline Raul_esp

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #111 on: November 28, 2010, 11:21:24 PM »
I love the ''uspop'' sound , and other of the things i like more of the cheiron music is the clarity of the songs as you say .
Your analysis is so interesting , a pity i dont understand a lot of things  :D

Offline cheironlover

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #112 on: December 02, 2010, 06:12:15 AM »
I love the uspop. It's super mega bangin! Timeless. Which Yamaha keyboards have this hotness?!

Offline Rebecca

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #113 on: December 02, 2010, 10:52:31 AM »
Thanks Tony, your analysis is fantastic and so interesting. It's taken me a while to read it as it's so detailed.
I love the Get Another Boyfriend sample and the Oops samples.

Offline Tony G.

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #114 on: December 02, 2010, 11:41:28 AM »
I love the uspop. It's super mega bangin! Timeless. Which Yamaha keyboards have this hotness?!

Hi cheironlover,

I personally own a Yamaha PSR-3000. That model is already six years old. I think that every new Yamaha arranger workstation (i.e. S910, S710 ...) has the "USPop"-style and i guess the more recent keyboards even have a better sounding version of it. And I have to say that after recording, I lifted the high frequencies a lot and put very hard compression on it. :-)

You can go to http://download.yamaha.com/top/?site=usa.yamaha.com&language=en and then download the "Data List" for each keyboard. In this list every style and every voice is mentioned.

Tony G.

Offline MicH

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #115 on: December 02, 2010, 01:55:42 PM »
Nice posts Tony G :) And the snippet was great!

For reverb and delay, I have noticed that cheiron only used longer reverbs on different hits, like for the white-noisey percussive shot heard in lot of BSB songs. They also sculpted the reverbs to have pleasant mid and high-mid frequency range. I don't know what they used for it back in the day but I'm 99% sure it was hardware reverb back then. As for the delay they used pretty basic stuff. The key is not to overdo effects. Cheiron crew used delays/long reverb cleverly to highlight something that was worth it.

Shorter reverbs are usually used very subtly. You can't hear them directly but you can hear the "glue" and athmosphere they create when used in a mix. This is pretty much standard in mixing.

For the production values of cheiron: Cheiron and Mutt Lange ( Shania Twain's come on over album is great example of his 90's work ) shared the polished candyproduction ( that's what I call it because it's candy for the ear :) ). Its combined from millions of little things all the way from the pre-production. Make the sounds breath my cutting frequencies carefully, tame them down with compression if needed. A good midrange reverb + subtle delay make things to have 'feeling'. Sound selection and other sources are picked/recorded and tweaked carefully because it's the basis of good sounding record.

Offline cheironlover

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #116 on: December 02, 2010, 09:30:47 PM »
Nice posts Tony G :) And the snippet was great!

For reverb and delay, I have noticed that cheiron only used longer reverbs on different hits, like for the white-noisey percussive shot heard in lot of BSB songs. They also sculpted the reverbs to have pleasant mid and high-mid frequency range. I don't know what they used for it back in the day but I'm 99% sure it was hardware reverb back then. As for the delay they used pretty basic stuff. The key is not to overdo effects. Cheiron crew used delays/long reverb cleverly to highlight something that was worth it.

Shorter reverbs are usually used very subtly. You can't hear them directly but you can hear the "glue" and athmosphere they create when used in a mix. This is pretty much standard in mixing.

For the production values of cheiron: Cheiron and Mutt Lange ( Shania Twain's come on over album is great example of his 90's work ) shared the polished candyproduction ( that's what I call it because it's candy for the ear :) ). Its combined from millions of little things all the way from the pre-production. Make the sounds breath my cutting frequencies carefully, tame them down with compression if needed. A good midrange reverb + subtle delay make things to have 'feeling'. Sound selection and other sources are picked/recorded and tweaked carefully because it's the basis of good sounding record.
Thanx Tony G!

Offline Strumpan

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #117 on: December 07, 2010, 09:56:46 AM »
For the production values of cheiron: Cheiron and Mutt Lange ( Shania Twain's come on over album is great example of his 90's work ) shared the polished candyproduction ( that's what I call it because it's candy for the ear :) ).
Yes, lately I have listened a lot to Def Leppard's Hysteria, a Mutt Lange production and it is really candy for the ear, just like the Cheiron productions.

Offline Tony G.

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #118 on: December 07, 2010, 10:38:50 PM »
Nice posts Tony G :) And the snippet was great!

For reverb and delay, I have noticed that cheiron only used longer reverbs on different hits, like for the white-noisey percussive shot heard in lot of BSB songs. They also sculpted the reverbs to have pleasant mid and high-mid frequency range. I don't know what they used for it back in the day but I'm 99% sure it was hardware reverb back then. As for the delay they used pretty basic stuff. The key is not to overdo effects. Cheiron crew used delays/long reverb cleverly to highlight something that was worth it.

Shorter reverbs are usually used very subtly. You can't hear them directly but you can hear the "glue" and athmosphere they create when used in a mix. This is pretty much standard in mixing.

For the production values of cheiron: Cheiron and Mutt Lange ( Shania Twain's come on over album is great example of his 90's work ) shared the polished candyproduction ( that's what I call it because it's candy for the ear :) ). Its combined from millions of little things all the way from the pre-production. Make the sounds breath my cutting frequencies carefully, tame them down with compression if needed. A good midrange reverb + subtle delay make things to have 'feeling'. Sound selection and other sources are picked/recorded and tweaked carefully because it's the basis of good sounding record.

Hi MicH,

thank you very much for your analysis. I totally agree with you There are some things I want to add:

You mentioned that they used short reverbs und delays at Cherion. That's right and I think that's one of the reasons why the sounds sound as fat as they do. But some more dance-orientated tracks have longer delays (e.g. "Stronger" by Britney Spears has a quarter note delay in the breakdown).

I think that Cheiron and Robert John "Mutt" Lange are just two very good examples of a cheesy pop music tradition. But Mutt is also known for very uncheesy music (like AC/DC). Another very important guy of that genre is Thorsten Brötzmann, but I think he is just known in Germany. ;-) Listen also to Dieter Bohlen Productions that are arrangend by Lalo Titenkov, i.e. "Free Like The Wind" or "Take Me Tonight" by Alexander, that's the most cheesy stuff I ever heard.

I think the history of pop music is longer. The most successful song in the states in 1946 was "Prisoner Of Love" by Perry Como, listen to that! That's also a lot of "Candy for the ear" like you sad. ;-) David Foster Porductions are also very cheesy and of course Walter Afanasieff. If you don't know him go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTICYACZB1U

I could go on and on . . .

Good night (for the David Hasselhoff Fans like me: Good Knight)

Tony G.

Offline JackSnr

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Re: Cheiron Sound.. need your help!
« Reply #119 on: December 08, 2010, 01:49:46 AM »
Wow, that's such an awesome analyses, Tony.

 I absolutely love it when Max goes outside the key like in Larger Than Life. It's a pity he doesn't use many key changes but the key change to the middle-8 in That's The Way It Is is so incredible. E major to E minor.  In the cherion days he loved to make the 5th chord of a minor key major to build suspense. Like using g major in BOMT which is in C minor.