WHAT IS MELODIC MATH?

Melodic math has been central to my perception of how hitmaking works. Through my work on my music theory PhD and of course my Top40 Theory journey, it's been a lens through which I view a lot of the concepts and techniques I've learned over the past decade.

Contrary to popular belief, melodic math is (mostly) not about mathematical equations. It's a theory of how music and psychology intersect in the brains (and bodies) of the listeners. And this theory is grounded in reality, as evidenced by the fact that the person who conceived it, Max Martin, has been making hit after hit since the previous century without being phased by shifts in trends and culture.


PRESS: HOW MAX MARTIN’S SONGWRITING TECHNIQUES ARE USED TO WRITE HIT, AFTER HIT, AFTER HIT (MUSIC BUSINESS WORLDWIDE)

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Who is this course for?

This course is for exceptionally talented aspiring or active hitmakers who want to take their craft to the next level and improve their songs' 'batting average'.

When does it start?

The Spring 2024 course starts on April 10, 2024.

How do I sign up?

You can apply to enroll in the Melodic Math course by filling out the application form. If you are potentially a good fit, you will receive an email invitation for a Zoom interview, after which you will be able to sign up if you are admitted to the course.

What does the course include?

STANDARD enrollment in the course includes:

- Ten (10) live 90-minute Zoom seminars on various hitmaking topics (see Curriculum Overview)
- Three (3) live 90-minute group feedback sessions
- Zoom office hours for dropping in and asking questions
- A dedicated online community for workshopping and feedback from me and from your peers

PREMIUM
enrollment in the course includes all of the above, plus seven (7) additional feedback sessions in smaller groups of up to five (5) students.

There is also an option to add on individual lesson packages. Spots for individual lessons are extremely limited and highly experienced songwriters are prioritized in receiving these spots.

Do I need to know music theory to enroll?

Formal music theory training or the ability to read sheet music is NOT necessary to enroll and succeed in this course, though it helps to have a basic understanding of scales and chords. However, you will need to be have songwriting experience and be familiar with basic song structure.

How much does the course cost?

See the FAQ section below for pricing details.

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF MELODIC MATH

  • Achieve visceral connection with the listener and keep them engaged throughout the song
  • Tap into the listener's subconscious brain rather than impress the conscious brain
  • Create the illusion that the listener already knows the song on first listen
  • Make the listener sing along and move to the music as soon as possible

HOOKS

  • Melodic principles
  • Hooking functions (stickiness, interest, tension & release, etc.)
  • Hook types and the hooking functions they fulfill
  • Creating infectious hooksIntertwining multiple hooks
  • Using space 

STRUCTURE

  • Large scale structure: building a song’s sonic arc
  • Medium scale structure: section-to-section​
  • Flow between sections
  • Small scale structure: in-section melodic structure
  • Substructure: phrase and hook structure

REPETITION

  • Understanding types of repetition and the soft-hard repetition spectrum
  • Combining repetition and variation
  • ‘Humanizing’ the repetition

CONTRASTS

  • Pitch contrasts
  • Rhythmic contrasts
  • Phrasing contrasts
  • Metric position contrasts

MELODY RECYCLING TECHNIQUES

  • Using the same melodies and refrains in different sections and contexts
  • Limiting the number of unique melodies in a song to increase the impact of each melody
  • Juxtaposing melodies

MELODIC PREVIEWS

  • Standard previews
  • Prince Theory
  • Hidden fragments
  • Pseudo-previews

HARMONY AND TONALITY

  • Ambiguity or fluidity between relative major & minor
  • Minimally functional chord progressions
  • Emphasis on final notes of phrases

What Students of the Melodic Math Course Say

"Asaf is an excellent teacher. I gained so many useful tools that will weave their way throughout my songs for the rest of my career. His ability to simplify the complex is astounding, and I found myself having numerous “Aha!” moments throughout my experience in this course. He possesses a comprehension of pop music song structure and hit making techniques that very few people in the world understand on his level. I couldn’t recommend this course enough, and believe that anyone, from a beginner just starting out, to full-time professional songwriters will receive tremendous value under the mentorship of Asaf."

RICK SEIBOLD
2x Dove Award Winner, multiple Billboard #1’s, Several hundred sync placements including Super Bowl commercials, ads for Google, Ford, AT&T, Marvel, Reebok, Peloton and in shows like Grey’s Anatomy and American Idol.
"Asaf is knowledgeable in a rare way about songcraft. Being able to break down and explain songs in their most minute detail and in a way that any songwriter can learn from has been a super interesting and helpful thing for me as I pursue songwriting. He's given me many ideas on how to improve my lyric and melody writing, and most importantly he's a really good guy, with good intentions, at helping writers everywhere."

d.a. got that dope
Doja Cat, Post Malone, Tyga, Megan Thee Stallion, Eminem, Kodak Black, 24kGoldn, and many more.
"Of the hundreds of courses / products I’ve seen marketed to me online, this one struck me as having the most evergreen approach to creating music that sticks with people. My expectations were surpassed! I still believe there’s always a little mystery in what a song will become, and you discover it along the way. What this course did was offer so many new specifically purposed tools to navigating that journey from the blank page to the memorable - impactful - hit. When I used to “finish” a song, I used to wonder if I had the things in place to make it stick with people, or how “good” it was. Now, I can confidently distance myself from the work, knowing that I’ve employed tools intentionally to create a compelling and memorable journey for the audience.

"One thing I loved in particular about Asaf’s approach was his very non-biased way of breaking down past Top40 hits, and laying out the principles to be learned without boxing creatives in with stiff rules. He is also so responsive and goes the extra mile to make sure you understand the concepts."

JACKY LEVARE
Walk Off The Earth, Siibii, Harm & Ease, What If Elephants
"Asaf’s teaching experience manifests not only in the highly considerate preparation but also the presentation of the course material. After studying the likes of Max Martin for many years, Asaf is providing for other songwriters to access the nifty techniques of the best in the game.
Support is always offered outside of the course as well, which has helped me build a valuable friend- and mentorship with Asaf and I’ve gained many connections with other writers and producers, one of which I have made a dear friend of. If you’re looking to improve your pen game, this course is 100% giving you all the tools."  

viktoria liv
Artist, producer, songwriter
"The Melodic Math course exceeded all my expectations. In just 10 weeks, I gained access to a treasure trove of knowledge that would have taken me thousands of hours to accumulate on my own. The course brought together industry tricks, advanced techniques, and a deep understanding of songwriting that only a select few true masters possess.

"Every lesson was meticulously crafted, providing valuable insights and practical exercises to hone my skills. Asaf was not only incredibly knowledgeable but also excellent at breaking down complex concepts into easily digestible pieces. His passion for music and dedication to helping students succeed shone through every interaction.

"The value I received from the Melodic Math course is truly priceless. It's like having a secret weapon in my songwriting arsenal. I've already noticed a significant improvement in my compositions, and I feel more confident and inspired than ever before.

"If you're serious about taking your songwriting to the next level, I cannot recommend Melodic Math enough. It's an investment that will pay off in dividends as you unlock new creative possibilities and elevate your music to new heights. Don't miss out on this transformative experience."

Gunvaldis Ezermanis
Songwriter
"Asaf Peres is a songwriting humanitarian who has invested years into researching and creating his next-generation melody writing course, driven by his passion for the genre. So, what can I add to all the glowing testimonials you've read? Well, for starters, Asaf taught me one of the most elusive songwriting skills: how to finish. He also shared plenty of insights on writing lyrics, even though it's not advertised as a lyrics course. Plus, by using Asaf's Songwriting EQ Method, I learned how to apply repetition creatively and systematically. These are just a few of this course's lesser-known but super-potent perks. Happy learning!"

Howard Eitner Miura
Music Consultant and Songwriter | Combining Executive Experience from the Island Def Jam Music Group with My Need to Fight for Feeling in a Data-Driven World

"Where to start! I couldn’t recommend it more. If you are a songwriter and you like pop music, this is it. Asaf is a great teacher, and everything we learnt is very practical, which allows you to immediately apply it to your music. Before the course I felt confident in my songwriting, but now I feel like I can turn a good idea into a catchy song and understand the process behind it. This is the type of class I wished I had in music school. "

yago ibars
Songwriter
"Top40 Theory is the best resource for latest pop music songwriting and melody writing techniques. Your song analyses are always on point and I learn something new every time. A lot of online pop music resources don’t go into the fine details of melody writing, while your content breaks down the techniques into tools I can instantly apply to my own songs and productions.

"The course went a lot deeper than I expected. You go quite in depth in your public social media posts, but I didn't realize you could go even deeper! The deep dive into "Blank Space" was beautiful!"

victor grey
Pop songwriter, producer
https://victor-grey.com/
"Melodic Math helped me to gain a solid understanding of some advanced songwriting techniques that have leveled my songwriting up immeasurably. I have used them already in sessions with two clients who have been floored by how easily I can turn good ideas into catchy bangers. The seminars on melodic previews and structure are worth the price of admission alone, as I'm not aware of anybody who is teaching this sort of information."

Sam (Elaborate productions)
Producer, songwriter
"Asaf’s course is fantastic. I developed a fuller understanding of hooks, recycling, previewing, melodic structures and arrangement. You learn how to tweak ideas you have to make them much better. Finishing songs becomes easier when you digest the methods taught. Asaf is an excellent teacher too and is happy to answer your questions both online and offline."

steve leslie
Songwriter, producer
"Asaf's teaching approach is incredibly clear, making complex concepts accessible and enjoyable to learn. Through the course, I've not only gained a profound understanding of music theory but also uncovered exciting new ways to express myself creatively through music. The structured lessons and hands-on exercises have not only deepened my musical knowledge but also ignited my imagination. I wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone seeking to expand their musical horizons in a stimulating and innovative way. Thank you, Asaf, for this transformative journey!"

Marcel T. Rutz
Mimis Kitchen Music
"Asaf has such a humanistic approach to music theory. He packages and delivers complex musical analysis in such an accessible way that I was truly shocked to realize how much ground was covered in the course within the space of a few weeks. Melodic Math has often felt like a mysterious dark art of the master songwriters, but now I find myself with multiple options when stuck writing a song and a whole new vocabulary to better help artists as a producer."

Max hurrell
Owner, producer - Songbird Society
"The top40 theory course is truly insightful and is filled with many actionable songwriting techniques. It has fast forwarded my career by many years. Asaf is very friendly, committed and approachable."

AK
Songwriter, producer
"Asaf's Melodic Math course definitely helped me become a better songwriter. Besides numerous tools and techniques that were taught, I gained a much deeper and sharper understanding of melodies and hooks. The course covers a wide range from general "songwriting mindset" topics to concrete stylistic tools and hook principles that can be immediately incorporated into daily work. Thanks a lot Asaf, you've leveled me up!"

joel kiefer
Songwriter, producer
"Where do I begin? Asaf poured his blood, sweat, and tears into creating a course so that you can pour your blood, sweat, and tears into crafting your best (and catchiest!) song. He arms you with an arsenal of tools (like melodic previews, fuelcore hooks, and phrase syncopation) to “increase your batting odds” of writing an earworm, regardless of the genre or song concept.
"More importantly, as a person, Asaf is simply the best. He’s the kindest, most compassionate teacher and genuinely wants you to succeed (no matter what success in the music industry means to you). My only complaint is that I wish I took this course sooner!"

Kati Holland
Artist
"This course revealed a whole new framework. It brought a lot of new things to my attention & gave me a massive toolbox for to keep developing with artists."
JUAN CARLOS SOTELO
Producer, engineer
"The Melodic math course was an incredible experience I’m so happy to been a part of. Asaf taught us great techniques to help us understand & structure our music better. Using this knowledge, I’ve definitely been able to improve my writing and find new ways to get inspired."
LBRTY
Artist, songwriter
"Asaf explorers the craft of songwriting with an encyclopedia of techniques, giving you tons of tools to utilize in your own practice. I highly recommend his expertise."

BRANDON 'PROPRSTRANGR'
Producer
"I really recommend Top 40 Theory's melodic math course to any senior or aspiring songwriter willing to learn new efficient methods to improve their skills. Asaf's class is both very comprehensive and accessible to artists with little knowledge of music theory.

"The content is extremely rich, thorough, clear, and is always illustrated with several examples taken from a wide selection of songs. As a longtime Max Martin fan and very passionate about analyzing pop songs, I have found Asaf's work stunningly relevant, detailed, and captivating. Songs get dissected on both macro and micro levels, with focuses on how melodies are built, but also on rhythm, phrasing, meter, etc.

"Besides, Asaf's human qualities show in his course. He will make you comfortable to ask whatever question you want during online sessions, will always give you very helpful answers and will keep a great communication with his students between every weekly session.

"There is no doubt this course will provide you with an extremely useful toolbox to excel at your craft and will give you a new approach to reach your full creative potential."

SABINE
Admin of @maxmartinmusic fan page on Instagram

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What Music Industry Pros Say About Top40 Theory

"Asaf Peres' Top40 Theory is a treasure trove of insights into how pop music is made and how it works. "

Dan wilson
2x Grammy winner and 3x Grammy nominated (Semisonic, Adele, The Chicks, Taylor Swift). Co-writer of recent singles by ​Leon Bridges, Mitski, Alec Benjamin, and many others
"Top40 Theory has helped me take a technical look at why I like the things that I like & it allows me to apply it to what I do."

charles "chizzy" stephens III
Multi-Platinum Producer/Songwriter | Jlo, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, DJ Snake, Gashi, Sevyn, A$AP Ferg, The-Dream, Travis Scott, NCT127, Got7 & more
"When I was in college, my friends and I used to listen to hit songs over and over, trying to analyze what exactly made a hit record. Top40 Theory has taken this approach and perfected it. I read every single post and I've learned a good amount."

lindgren
Platinum songwriter/producer. Dua Lipa, BTS, Halsey, Sia, TWICE, and others
"Asaf's tangible examples and in-depth breakdowns of well-known songs make it very easy for me to internalize the tools and tricks of the songwriting greats, and utilize them to improve my own writing and producing." 

dre the monarch
Multi-platinum songwriter and producer. Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber, DJ Khaled, Rita Ora, and others
"Asaf is the leading expert on how to use music theory at the micro level to craft memorable hooks, and at the macro level to compose hit songs."

charlie harding
Co-host of the Switched On Pop podcast and co-author of the book Switched On Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters
"Asaf has insights for days on what makes pop music tick, and Charlie and I have consulted with him countless times for our podcast Switched on Pop. His perspectives have changed the way we think about pop music."

nate sloan
Co-host of the Switched On Pop podcast, co-author of the book Switched On Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters, and Assistant Professor of Musicology at University of Southern California
"In a field too often stuck in the distant past, Dr. Peres's work is a breath of fresh air, engaging with the music of today on its own terms in order to understand how pop music actually works."

12 tone (cory arnold)
Music theorist and creator/host of massively popular music theory YouTube channel
"It’s difficult to overstate the importance of Asaf’s work, both in his dissertation and in the Top40 Theory blog. His work has enlightened all of us about what we were missing by only thinking about sectional boundaries in terms of harmony instead of timbre and texture."

brad osborn
Associate Professor of Music Theory, The University of Kansas

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell whether I’m a good candidate for this course?

This course is primarily intended for high-level professional songwriters who have the ability to use the knowledge they gain in this course to catapult them to a new level. If you do not fit that description but you have the talent and experience that you believe would make you a good fit, you are welcome to apply, and we will figure it out together.

When does the course start?

The Spring 2024 course starts on April 10, 2024.

Do I need to know music theory to enroll?

No, but it helps to have a basic knowledge of chords and scales. The vast majority of the concepts I will teach do not require any knowledge of ‘traditional’ music theory, but there will be a couple of modules in which it will help to know basic chord structure and be familiar with scale degrees. 

What if I can't make the Zoom calls due to a scheduling conflict?

Time zones and studio schedules can be tricky! But don’t worry… Recordings of the all Zoom sessions will be made available to you, in case you are unable to make the live training time.

How much does the course cost?

The Standard option of the course is $2,000.

The Premium option of the course is $3,500. Premium enrollees receive weekly feedback sessions (10 total, including the 3 feedback sessions offered to all students). The 7 additional feedback sessions are in groups of no more than 5 students, creating a more personalized and hands on experience. 

Admitted applicants may be give the option, depending on availability, to add on individual lesson packages to go along with the course. Individual lesson spots are extremely limited, and highly experienced songwriters will receive priority for these spots. Those interested in individual lessons can request them at the interview stage or any time during the course. Pricing for individual lessons will be discussed upon inquiry.

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