When Songs Have Too Many Ideas

When you love a song, its main hook is usually its most important feature. In a sense, no matter what else goes on in a song, everything works toward the hook. While the quality of all features is vital, everything culminates in the hook. It’s like climbing a mountain. The mountain peak is the immediately identifiable feature. That […]

Leonard Cohen

Using Similar Rhythms Throughout a Melody Strengthens a Song

I’m often asked about motifs – how they work in typical songwriting, and if songwriters even need to be aware of them. Unlike a hook, which does its work in the foreground, a motif is a small building-block of music that works mainly in the background. That’s not to say we don’t typically hear motifs — […]

The Musical Cohesion That Comes From Motifs

If you’ve written a hook, and most if not all of the following aren’t true, you’ve not really written an effective one: It’s got a short and easy-to-remember melody. It incorporates a catchy rhythm. It uses a relatively simple, short chord progression. It usually appears, disappears, and reappears throughout a song. It’s fun to sing. When […]

Daniel Powter

Can Songs Succeed With No Obvious Hook?

Songwriters use a variety of terms to describe various aspects of music. The definition of some of these terms are obvious, while others are hard to define, but “you know it when you see it”: groove, riff, pay-off line, the tune… these are words we just all seem to know instinctively what’s being referred to. “Hook” […]

Rolling Stones - Satisfaction

Exploring a Deeper Definition of a Song Hook

In pop songwriting, the word hook is often used synonymously with chorus. “I’ve just written a hook” usually means that you’ve got the main part of your chorus done. But in fact, that concept we call the hook is more complex, and overlaps with other elements we typically call riffs, motifs, maybe even loops and other types of repetitive patterns. […]

Folk band concert

The 3 Most Important Components of a Good Song Hook

“It’s all about the hook,” you’ll often be told, when it comes to successful pop songwriting. The only problem with that assertion is that it makes it seem as though other song elements aren’t quite as important. A hook grabs attention, to be sure, but doesn’t excuse you from making sure that the overall structure […]