Have you ever noticed that after listening to some songs they linger into your mind for quite a long time and you just can't stop humming? Most of the time it is because the song has the perfect hook that stays stuck inside your mind.
It is said that hook is the selling point of any song. It can be a bunch of notes or a phrase. Upon hearing the song's name, if the hook is the first thing that comes to a listener's mind, it depicts the hook itself.
Why is Hook so Important in a Song?
Enjoying a song doesn’t require much knowledge about music itself. But, it never hurts to know about the in-and-out of music.
A song with a catchy hook and elusive melody embeds itself into the minds of the audience and would stick inside their head even when the singer finished his song.
While a hook is easily identifiable as a short musical piece, a song is made up of many short musical pieces. What is it about hooking people that have been effective in getting people back to the point of listening? Is it possible to guess how a hook will turn out? If that is the case, is there a series of guidelines you can apply to achieve a hook like that?
You might be baffled with all that queries popping up in your head. Don’t worry, we got your back! Keep reading to find every bit on writing a good hook for your upcoming track.
Now that we have a clear idea about what a hook in a song is, let’s proceed to knowing its significance. Some songwriters suggest the hook being the most powerful tool of the track. This is an attribute that makes a song live in the hearts of many, even after ages.
A hook contains lyrics and melodies, which make the song an engaging one. Be it a long or a short hook, it does its job perfectly. That is, when it’s perfectly written. It is observed that songwriters use phrases or a single term which ignites an interest to know more of the song. Often, the lyrics act like messages and thoughts of the writer which motivates listeners. But, for one to click the song of YouTube or listen to a track on Spotify, it needs to have a catch.
Besides, a hook impacts the sequence and repetitions of a song. It highlights the contrast and gist of the song at the same time. So, be creative with modifying a hook for your song. This will benefit the song to be timeless.
Attributes of a Great Hook:
The ideal length of a good hook is between 1 beat to 8 beats. If the length is prolonged than that, the song will get lodged into the listeners' mind.
It is suggested to keep a hook in a single term. Terms which wrap up in few beats are the best!
Tuneful Melodious Outline:
The harmonic element of a hook typically has leap and steady motion. Take Bruce Springsteen’s song “Born in the U.S.A” for example.
The melodious hook over and over again, ah, who doesn’t enjoy it?
A fusion of Melody and appealing music pattern:
The rhythm has to be something straightforward so that it is easy for the audience to remember. Nevertheless, it has to be funky and groovy as well. For example, Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You”
Disappearance at some places:
Sometimes dropping off the hook in some places ensures that the hook’s appeal is not blemished. It is a good idea to doze the hook during the bridge. After it gets another comeback, the appeal becomes twice as before. This trick works really well to prevent the charisma of the hook from wearing out.
Motif Works Better than the Hook:
Surely, hook is a great idea to pull the audience towards your song, but it is not the only thing to achieve success in songwriting. The strength of a song majorly relies on the formal pattern, lyrics, and other elements. A combination of all these with an enticing hook can surely make a great song. But without all these, the appeal of the hook is not going to last long in the audience’s mind.
The Pathway to a Great Guitar Hook
The hook of a song is basically what keeps you hooked with that song. Before you start writing a hook please note that you have to understand what it is required to build a captivating hook.
While listening to any of the popular songs, you may have noticed that the hooks of those songs are concise and are repeatable without a hitch. A long hook, no matter how good it is, is not very easy to memorize and often lose its appeal.
However, a perfect hook is something way hard to achieve. Not only do you need to work hard, also you need a bit of fate to create something appealing enough to win back your audience.
The rhythmic hook implements instruments and sets out an amalgamation of beat and rhythm. The song is basically composed upon this amalgamation. Stevie Wonder’s Superstition has a powerful rhythmic hook. His other songs such as “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” ''You haven’t done nothing” are also cited as examples in this regard.
Steps to make a rhythmic hook:
Illustrating an intense rhythmic hook includes these following steps:
- Start with a beat (tap with your foot or slap on your knee)
- Rhythmic hook requires being short and catchy. So improvise/hum/sing a compact 4 or 8 beat rhythm that would call the audience’s attention to the song.
- The chord progression that will go along with the hook also requires being concise. Hence, creating a one or two good chord progression would be effective. For instance, C-Fm7, C-Bb, C-Eb etc.
- Now, you have to fabricate a bass line with an ending that has a smooth connection with the beginning. The bass line should have a catchy-rhythm and the rhythm should be clearly different from guitar or any other instruments.
The concept of the introductory hook is as the name suggests, forming a shape in the first few minutes of establishing the song. Although the Introduction hook is repeated frequently throughout the song but it is never constant. Maroon 5’s “Move like a Jagger” or Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” can be presented as examples.
Steps to make an introductory hook:
Some ways you can write a good introductory hook is presented below:
- Come up with an attention-grabbing rhythm and form a melodic concept based on that.
- Adhere to the following pentatonic scale notes. Such as, use the following notes in C major C, D, E, G/A.
- Contemplate with three individual chord progressions to go with the hook. These chord progressions should be effective as chorus, verse, and bridge progression.
- The hook should manipulate the song and draw people’s attention by emerging and fading out.
Background Instrumental Hook:
Usually the instrumental hook is tuned with a finished song. Since it is added with a song that is already completed it has to tune well in combination with other types of songs.
Think of Bob Dylan’ Like a Rolling Stone or U2’s “With or without you” has that captivating hook happening in each chorus. If a song writer can use this tool effectively, an instrumental hook can be the most powerful weapon of that song to grab the listener's attention and make that song resonate for ages.
Steps to Make a Background Instrumental Hook:
- When the song is complete, build a short flick on your guitar with only 2 to 4 bit. It should have an exceptional rhythm and it should combine well by most chords of your picked key.
- Use it in the chorus of the song. But make sure it is not used on top of the chorus. Consider using it here and there of the lyrics.
- The hook should remain in the background and modify the other hooks of the song.
We hope you now have a precise idea on how to make a hook a great hook. Do not forget to repeat the hook several times. But do not overuse it also. Listen to your song with repetitions of different hooks. In this way, you will understand if you are missing something and adjust everything. Consider to switch rhythm in the middle of choruses and verses.
Adding stuttering effects or pausing for variety will help you to bring a variety in the tune. Last but not least, highlight the hook. Make it remarkable for listeners so that they can easily pick it out, headband, sing, or air guitar to it.
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