How to Write a Hook For Your Song

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.
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How do I write a hook for the song I’ve already composed? Is that possible, or must the songwriting process start with the creation of a hook?

In a way, all songs have a hook if they’re memorable. A hook is that “thing” that keeps you focused on a song. But in general usage, the term “hook” refers to a rhythmic/melodic figure that repeats rather constantly throughout a song. Not all songs have that kind of hook, though, so as a first step try to determine if your song calls for it. If you think that what you’ve got written down is good but just lacks a little cohesion, a hook can do that for you. A hook will usually work as a good intro, and as glue between chorus and verse, as well as, of course, your chorus.

 

So how do you write a hook? Here are some tips:

  1. Part of the basic rhythms and chord progressions of your song should appear in a hook. Find one or two chords, and an energetic rhythm that serves as a strong component of your song, and repeat them over and over. Use it as an intro, between verses, and as part of the outro.
  2. There’s no part of your melody that must be in a hook. And in fact, my opinion is that the best hooks use a different melodic construction from your verse or chorus, to add some variety to your song.
  3. Allow a hook to disappear briefly in a song. For example, you may want to abandon it during the bridge, developing a stand-alone hook that appears only in that part of the piece. That way, when you come back to the song’s basic hook it will feel fresh.
  4. Experiment with catchy aspects of a song other than rhythm and chords. For example, let an instrumental effect be the hook (like the repetitive guitar effect from Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”.

And how do you know you’ve written a good one? You’ll know that your hook works if you find yourself humming it long after the song is finished.

-Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website

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12 Comments

    • Somty you can contact me, I go to Full Sail in Orlando for Music Production and Engineering, I’d be glad to assist you with any problems or barriers you’re encountering.

  1. Im an armature writer. I’ve jotted down a lot of little things, but nothing too impressive. One night hanging out with some friends words started forming in my head and I couldn’t help myself. I had to write them down. As I wrote it started to progress into what could be a song. It needs a little work, ive only gotten a rough draft so far. Most importantly I can’t think of a hook. Maybe someone could help me. If interested email me and I’ll send you what I have so far. If you read it and don’t think it’s worth your time I’ll understand, like I said its my first time writing a song.

    ricky_istre@yahoo.com

  2. Am hapy to be one of those that gained the oppurtunity of learning from your reach hook writing tips, i’m a young artiste from nigeria. I will lik to learn more from you. Tanx

  3. hey’ bro my names Evan and im a young artist by the name of young swagg and i reall like your response on how to write hooks even though some of the stuff i already knew i still can learn more and i liked how you said after a while when your done with the song if your humming it its a terific hook.

    Thanks for the advice:)

  4. Great post, Gary. It’s interesting how people use the word ‘hook’ to mean slightly different things – either the small repeating idea you’re talking about, or just any part of the music that repeats and gets stuck in your head.

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