…Baby One More Time – Some analysis of rhythmic-motivic work in melody

Britney Spears mega-hit …Baby One More Time from 1999 is written by Max Martin and produced by Martin, Rami Yacoub and Denniz PoP. It’s a great example of the production and writing style of Cheiron Studios in 90’s Stockholm. As a composition Baby One More Time is example of using very restricted amount of musical material.

Lets listen…

Opening piano riff is just genial! And the piano riff is core in motivic development of this song. Actually rhythmically this motive is similar to opening motive Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony…

Just adding two extra eight-notes we get ”ooh baby baby”-motive. The first eight bars are rhytmically different placements of this motive – just adding two quarter notes at the end of phrases. Next four bars uses that motive backwards (”show me…”).

Chorus is combination of these things with very strong ending phrase.

There is lot of short 3:4 polyrhythms here – along with the strong rhythmical motives common in Max Martin tunes.

About sounds – I think there is lots of Korg Trinity…

I don’t know how much Martin knows about classical techniques in musical composition, but there is very similar – if not exactly same – techniques in for example in Schubert Lieder and classical period composers tunes.

The Process of Making ”Amelia”

Hello there! This is new blog by Antti Sunell, guitarist and composer from Helsinki, Finland. This blog is about music. My mother-tongue is not english – constructive critics are welcome! I´m really working on my written english. So, to the first article…

This is the story of making piece of music. And also this this is the story about how social media can have an influence in making music.

Sometimes in spring-winter one of my Facebook friends told his love for Miguel Llobet´s guitar music. So I went straight to Spotify to listen that music.

And here that was: a beautiful piece that I´ve played as a kid over twenty-five years ago! My original paper hadn´t composers name on it – until that composer/arranger of that piece was great mystery to me!

El Testament D´Amelia is one of the catalan folksongs that Llobet har arranged.

As I found the sheet music, it was time to re-arrange that. First we (=me, percussionist/drummer Tuomo ”Vänni” Väänänen and our fusiongroup CODE 1480) did pretty straight-ahead arragement – just Llobet´s version played with classical guitar added with fretless electric bass and some percussion and improvised solo. Pretty soon we left the Llobet-thing completely out and took only melody and harmony was long drone-like synthesizer chord, we added melody from old finnish choral and so on…

I continued to work with tune alone as a part of my electroacoustic series Music för Svenska Deckare. First I reharmonised the original melody. Basic chords are very simple:

Dm – Bb – Em7b5  A7 – Dm -Gm – C7 – F and so on.

With utilisizing tritone substitution, deceptive cadenzas and substitude chords I made re-harmonisation like that:

Dm – Bb/D – Em7b5 Eb7b5 – Dm – Ebmaj7 D11 – Gb7b5 – Fmaj7#11 – Eb7#11 – D5 – Em7b5 – Bbmaj7 – Ebmaj7 D5 – Eb7b5 – Dm – Ebmaj7 Eb7

It has some phrygian flavor in it. Eb7 is a tritone substitution of A7 and it is easy chord to modulate to G# minor as I did.

I like lot finnish rockgroup Sielun Veljet song Talvi (=Winter). Guitarist Jukka Orma (and maybe Ismo Alanko and Jouko Hohko too) does incredible work! In my jobs as school music teacher I have also made The Corrs song Only when I Sleep about thousand times. I like the sound of playing melody on a B-string and keeping high E-string open. So I played Amelias melody this way. The problem was that my tempo playing melody with this style was naturally faster than original tempo. And the new key is C#-minor…

Solution was metric modulation. The 1/16 -notes are triplets in new tempo. But how to do that with computer. Again Facebook-friends were helpful: new tempo is original x 1,333333…. With Logic I used same synths but with different delays.

Here is the tune in Soundcloud. Thanks for listening!