Sunday, December 8, 2013
Repeating Yourself (The Importance of the Hook)
The definition of a music hook seems to be "a musical and/or lyrical phrase that catches the ear of the listener". So the word hook comes from "hooking" them as they listen, so they'll want to sing along on the next chorus, and then of course listen repeatedly to our genius creation.
So why is this so hard to teach to new songwriters? Especially Christian songwriters?
I think the answer to this is simple, the writers are trying to be Christian and say something important. This can actually interfere in the process.
"Why should I worry about a silly hook when I'm proclaiming the Good News of Christ?" you ask.
To that I say, "Oh quit taking yourself so seriously! If you want your songs to reach real people, not just automatons who will nod to anything you say, AND you want to compare your songs to classic songwriting, put in a dang hook!"
Sorry for such a rude response, but I think you get my drift. If you sense some animosity from me on this subject (and it's one we've written on before), the reason is that I hear so many songs each and every week by Christian songwriters, and I sometimes have to ask them what the name of the song is, or which section is the chorus. These questions should never have to be asked of a great song. You know for sure what the title is, and when you are hearing the chorus or the hook.
Now, I know this frustrates songwriters trying to be artistic and different, and wanting to say something that is on their hearts or scriptural. I also know that Christians sometimes get put off by this, when Christ should be the main point of any Christian song. But most artists and songwriters are coming to see us in Nashville with intentions toward getting signed, published, or at the very least become more successful in their music and ministry pursuits. You can be as original and spiritual as you want, but if you have goals of success or even making your music your career, you'd better be ready to write music that can be easily processed and enjoyed by the masses.
How this is actually done in the chorus or repeated section is where you can be creative. Is a line repeated over and over? Is it at the front and end of the chorus? It could even be a verse hook that repeats at the end of each verse, and then is supplemented in the chorus. It could even be one killer line at the end of the chorus. There are no rules, other than rule #1: have a hook. How you design your hook is up to you.
Let's try some examples in the Comments section of this post. Are you game?
List either a chorus, or a verse and chorus to a song (whether it's yours or not). JUST LYRICS PLEASE. Then if you'd like to put a link to your song, do so after the lyrics.
Let's discuss these and see what you guys think out there.
Look forward to reading, listening, and discussing.
Have a great week!
Eric Copeland is a songwriter first, but also president and executive producer for Creative Soul, a very different kind of Christian music company. Find out more at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com
- Eric Copeland
- Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com