Hook (music)A hook is a musical idea, often a short riff, passage, or phrase, that is used in popular music to make a song appealing and to "catch the ear of the listener". The term generally applies to popular music, especially rock, R&B, hip hop, dance, and pop. In these genres, the hook is often found in, or consists of, the chorus. A hook can be either melodic or rhythmic, and often incorporates the main motif for a piece of music.
DefinitionsOne definition of a hook is "a musical or lyrical phrase that stands out and is easily remembered". Definitions typically include some of the following: that a hook is repetitive, attention-grabbing, memorable, easy to dance to, and has commercial potential and lyrics. A hook has been defined as a "part of a song, sometimes the title or key lyric line, that keeps recurring". Alternatively, the term has been defined as
the foundation of commercial songwriting, particularly hit-single writing, [varying in length from the repetition of] one note or a series of notes ... [to] a lyric phrase, full lines, or an entire verse. The hook is 'what you're selling'
and can be something as insubstantial as a 'sound' (such as da doo ron ron) but
ideally should contain one or more of the following: (a) a driving, danceable rhythm; (b) a melody that stays in people's minds; (c) a lyric that furthers the dramatic action, or defines a person or place.
While some melodic hooks include skips of an octave or more to make the line more interesting, a hook can be equally catchy by employing rhythmic syncopation or other devices. A hook may also garner attention from listeners from other factors, such as the vocal timbre or instrumentation, as in the case of the Beach Boys' use of an Electro-Theremin in "Good Vibrations". Some hooks become popular without using any unusual elements. For example, in the song "Be My Baby", performed by The Ronettes, the hook consists of the words "be my baby" over the conventional I–vi–IV–V chord progression of the chorus. Hooks in hip hop almost always refer to the chorus between verses; as in the lyrics to "Ice Ice Baby", "check out the hook, while my DJ revolves it", that leads into the chorus itself.