What is a hook in a song?
Song hooks are a line of lyrics or a melody that is short enough to grab the attention of listeners and make songs engaging. It grabs the listener’s attention and is memorable. Musical hooks are best in styles such as rap, hip hop, R&B pop, rock, and dancing music. These hooks are typically between four and eight bars long and can be repeated multiple times in a song. Hooks can also be lyrical or melodic, rhythmic or instrumental. Hooks are shorter than a chorus and support the main idea of a song.
It takes more than good fortune and a great sense of melody to write a hit song. Songs become hits in large part because they stay in our heads. It is essential to incorporate memorable melodic and lyrical hooks. What happens if the song hook is lost or becomes too difficult for listeners to remember when the song ends? Imagine a comedian telling a great joke. The story is funny, the setup is great, and the audience is engaged. The audience may feel confused or disappointed if the joke is delivered too long, the comedian makes a weird gesture, or the comedian murmurs. It would be meaningless for the comedian to have spent so much time crafting the joke.
HOW TO WRITE A HOOK FOR A SONG
It is crucial to include hooks in your music. Listeners won’t be able to hold onto your hooks and will likely forget what you have written. Your hook should be simple and memorable. Your audience should be able to recall the lyrics and follow along with a catchy tune. A great hook should be short and simple. Long hooks can be confusing for listeners. Hooks in popular music consist of a single line, or a combination of two lines, that lasts four to eight bars.
The hook is often found in the verse, chorus, pre-chorus or intro. You can put your hook anywhere you like. It should be repeated at least once in the song. The hook will stand out if it is repeated at least once throughout the song. Think about the foundation of your song when you write hooks. What’s the song really about? What is the purpose of this song? These questions can be answered and then broken down into an idea lasting up to eight bars.
There are many ways you can write a hook. The general approach to writing a hook is to use a combination of:
- Lyrical hooks that are based on a catchy verse or phrase
- Rhythmic hooks are based on a repetitive beat/rhythm.
- Melodic hooks are based on a memorable melody, or an instrumental phrase.
These are some tips to help you create catchy hooks that will keep listeners interested.
- Create Memorable Lyrics
A song’s lyrics are just as important as its catchy melody. Your hook can inspire emotion, grab your attention, and support the main idea of your story. These tips will make your lyrical hooks memorable
- Use lyrics that people can relate to.
- Try new rhythms and creative rhythms. You can sing in a different rhythm to the verse or chorus.
- Instead of using words, sing melodic syllables. The Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive is a great example. Without the Ah ha, ha before Stayin’ alive, the hook wouldn’t have been as effective.
- Use simple, short phrases. Outkast uses the song title “Hey Ya”, for example, in their hook. It’s easy and catchy.
- Invent new terms and words like ” Bless up” by DJ Khaled, or ” YoLO” by Drake.
- Locate your money note. This note is unexpected and will grab the attention of listeners due to its duration or pitch.
Consider including the name of your song in your hook when writing lyrics. The hook should include the song name. This will help listeners locate your music and retain it better.
- Create A Memorable Rhythm
Next, pay attention to the beat rhythm of your hook. The hook should be as simple as the lyrics. It should also be consistent with its identity. Music producers often change the rhythm between verses, hooks, or choruses. This is a simple and effective way of keeping the listener’s attention while moving the song forward. To give your song variety, you might arrange the beat of the hook differently from the verse or chorus. Here are some tips to help you create a catchy rhythm.
- To switch things up, use syncopation
- It’s easy to get rid of the nonsense.
- You can change the pitch of some drum hits.
- You can use fewer notes, or a different note arrangement.
- You can replace drum samples with other ones.
Don’t go overboard. The balance between originality and recallability is what you want. It will be more difficult to remember if the rhythm is too complex.
- Create A Memorable Melody
The last element you should focus on is melody. A memorable melodic hook will make listeners hum along or whistle to your tune. A hook does not need to be melodic. Many rap hooks don’t require melody. You may be asking, “Is a melody necessary?” You don’t have to add a melody if the hook is able to grab listeners’ attention. A melody that is viable should be based on the hook’s rhythm. Let the melody flow with the lyrics. Both elements will naturally complement one another.
Keep your melody simple. Melodic hooks are often composed of two to four notes, spaced one semi or whole tone apart. There are seldom huge jumps between notes. This makes it simple to remember and sing along with melody notes. Post Malone, for example, uses a simple melody as his hooks. The repeated melodic hooks of “Rock Star” are two-note. Different instrumentation can make your hook melodies standout. Use a different instrument or synch sound than the verse or chorus.
- Take Care of Your Words
You shouldn’t repeat the same lyrics from the hook throughout the song. Let’s take, for example, a hook that includes “home” as the first word. You shouldn’t use the word anywhere else. Use synonyms instead. You can use your mom’s apple pie, your fireplace, or even your old bedroom as a synonym.
Choose lyrical examples that are personal to you and create lyrics that are more memorable. Listeners who have heard the hook before the payoff line is delivered to them are already bored. They won’t tune in if you don’t give them anything new.
- Get your Hook to the Top
Music’s timeless existence has been marked by a “money note”. This is the note that draws the listener attention . It’s either higher than the rest, or it’s held longer. Combine this technique with a great hook and you’ve got the recipe for a hit song. However, it is important to not force this tool onto a song. This can make the song sound strange. Instead, use the lyrics to communicate your thoughts. Words have a specific meter and pitch. It may be that the word you were expecting to emphasize on the high note isn’t as important as another.
There are many ways to make your hook and your song stand out from all the rest . These are not all possible to cover in one article. Songwriting is like many other skills. You’ll learn more about these skills and formulas the more you work on it. You may discover new ways to improve your craft as you learn.
- Keep your song hooks simple and melodic
Most likely, your audience won’t remember a complex modal jazz run. The majority of radio hooks don’t exceed three to four notes. There are many examples of pop songs with only two notes that have been hugely successful. Your hook will be easier for your audience to follow by limiting the number of notes and keeping them in the same scale as the key. However, the rest of your track should still use interesting chords or melodies. Remember that your hook must be simple and melodic if you want it to be catchy.
- Chop and sample your song hook
sampling is a very important technique in music production. You can bet that it is used in a lot of popular songs. You can even find entire websites dedicated to royalty-free vocal hooks you can use and add to your tracks. Once you have a hook for your track, start playing around in your sampler. You can chop it up, reverse it and pitch it up or down. Finally, you can add effects to it! Have fun, be creative. This technique is used by many producers to create hooks. You increase your chances of people remembering your hook if you include the chopped-and-screwed version in your track.
- Repeat the Song Hook to Make It Memorable
Repeat your song hook multiple times. Repeating your hook will increase your chances of grabbing someone’s attention. This will help to embed your hook in the listener’s mind. A hook that is memorable will be a big draw for your fans. It is important to not repeat the hook too often. It can become monotonous.
THREE TYPES OPTIONS FOR SONG HOOKS
Three of the most popular musical hooks are Rhythm Hook and Intro Hook.
1. RHYTHM HOOK
The rhythmic hook is what sets the beat and rhythm. This is often a four- to eight-beat rhythm that grabs attention. You can use instrumental or lyrical rhythms. A rhythm hook is a mixture of elements, such as a catchy beat and chord progression, along with a bass line. A popular hook is “Superstition” from Stevie Wonder. This iconic guitar line immediately grabs your attention, making the song memorable. Lyrics drive rhythm hooks. To make your song stand out, ensure there is syncopation or swing to the lyrical rhythm hook. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s boring if the hook focuses on weak beats.
2. INTRO HOOK
An intro hook is a melody that is introduced at the beginning of a song. The song then repeats the melody, changing in and out. The primary purpose of a hook is further supported by intro hooks. This purpose is to grab the listener’s attention. A catchy intro hook makes it instantly recognisable.
The song will only be as good as the first thing the listener hears. This is why it’s important to make sure that your intro hook grabs listeners’ attention immediately. They may not be excited about the main idea if they aren’t hooked immediately. Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” has a catchy intro hook. It is instantly recognisable because of its driving bass line, which gets people moving immediately.
3. BACKGROUND INSTRUMENTAL HOOK
Instrumental hooks can be short melodic phrases that are used in songs but not as part of the vocal melody. The hook is often a familiar two- or four-beat riff that’s placed around the lyrics. The instrumental song hook is a response to a chorus line. A natural space in a verse or chorus will allow for a brief instrumental idea to live. The idea will then be incorporated throughout the song. Disclosure’s “Latch” has an instrumental hook that is catchy. The song starts with the double-hit vocal chop. The perfect moments are created by the repetition of this chop throughout the song.
Hook vs Chorus: What is the Difference?
It is not uncommon for people to confuse the distinction between chorus and hook. What is the chorus? It can, but it is not always. The hook of a song can come from anywhere. Both sections of the song are catchy and convey the main idea. There are however some differences. A chorus, for example, is a part of a song structure that repeats melody and harmony.
A song hook is a brief musical idea that can be rhythmical or melodic. Not all hooks can be found in a single song section. They can instead be riffs that catch you’re ear. These riffs can be placed anywhere. A song can have multiple hooks. Some hooks might not be appropriate for the chorus format. They may be better suited for other parts of the song. A hook could appear in the chorus, verse or intro of a song.
Song hook ideas
Song hooks are easy to come up with. There are tons of ideas and inspiration. This list of song hooks was compiled from the ideas of a few well-known artists.
1. Combine genres
Mixing genres in your song hook can be a great way of capturing the attention of multiple audience members. Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road was a huge hit in 2019, and is a great example. It did a great job combining country and hip-hop into a song that was easy to sing along to. The track was also able to reach a wide audience by being remixed later on by country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.
2. Use an instrumental hook
A song hook doesn’t have to be a vocal one. An instrumental section can be used to draw the audience in. Phil Collins’ rousing drum beat in I Can Feel it Coming in the Air Tonight is a great example. You know what the next part is when you hear it. It’s so simple to follow the part when someone you love is air drumming it at a party.
3. Make an anthem
The best Anthem hooks can be sung along to. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond is my favorite example. The lyrics are simple, especially the Oh-Oh–Oh part. It’s the type of hook that can get the whole stadium singing at sporting events.
4. Create a new word
Sometimes, a new word can be necessary to convey something more about your hook or your song’s message. Drake is credited with inventing the internet term YOLO (You Only Live Once) in The Motto. The simple idea of creating an acronym that represented a risk-taking and carefree attitude to life was enough for Drake to make the track a huge hit.
5. Use singable syllables
Your song hook doesn’t have to be all about words. There are many great examples of melodies that were sung in simple syllables and worked well to engage the audience. This song hook writing strategy works because it eliminates language barriers. Your hook will be appreciated by everyone, so anyone can sing it. Ob-La Di, Ob-La Da by The Beatles is a good example. It’s catchy and easy to sing along to. You’ve probably heard this song over and over.
6. Use a simple melody
Many pop singers today use very simple melodies. Songwriters seem to be looking for ways of taking out notes rather than adding them. This tactic is used by Post Malone in many of his hook writing. You’ll hear repeated two-note melodies throughout Rock Star. This is a deliberate move to make it easy to remember the song and sing along to.
Song Hook, line, and singer
It’s not easy to write songs. You need to practice and have the ability to make it memorable. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t attempt, but you will need to practice. You can start to experiment and find the characteristics that might work well as hooks in your tracks. Sometimes, it’s better to throw out all rules and just create something unique. It’s best to be authentic when writing songs. As long as you are conscious of creating hooks in your music, your songs will reach your audience.
Modern music is full of hooks. Hooks are a musical tool that can grab attention in today’s culture. Your ability to create great hooks will make you a better writer. Keep in mind that “less is more” and learn basic music theory. These elements allow you to combine simple music with simple lyrics. This formula can help you create your next record-breaking hit.
Song hook generator
You could work with another person if you are unable to come up with song hooks. You can also use an online song hook generator . This is not recommended for music that you intend to release but it can be used for song writing practice and to help you get comfortable with the idea of writing them. Online tools can help you find lyrical hooks. Some beats are more complicated than others, such as rhythmic and musical. Premade beats can be purchased online if you are looking for them.
You can challenge yourself to find the hooks in songs every day for the next few days. You can try to identify the hook and figure out what makes it unique. Are you able to identify the lyric, melody, rhythm, verse, chorus, intro, or a combination of all these? Once you are able to identify them, you can start brainstorming your own song hook. You can also seek professional help from boompapers for