• The Hook
  • Started by Kellyanneg
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The Hook
on: April 14, 2019, 13:03:25
Hello! I hope you are all well!  :loveit: I have a pondering question....
As I was working on a song with audacity, I would leave it open and come back to it the next day, adding instrument sounds, attempting the vocal track over and over, playing with effects etc.  So of course we must've had a little power surge and I woke up to it all wiped out. Nope, I hadn't been saving as I went along. Lesson learned!! So, the hook/songtitle "Saved" came to my head. I began writing, but felt so boxed in by trying to stick with the hook. I let it go and continued to write. The hooks/titles have always revealed themselves as I write. I have heard of people keeping "hook books", personally I don't. Do any of you start with a hook? What inspires them/how do you find them? Do you structure your songs as you go or have a plan?
Just sharing thoughts, saying hello, and wishing you well.  ;D
Do what makes your heart sing :)


Re: The Hook
Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 13:00:27
 Hi @Kellyanneg . I can't say for sure but I think the hook replays itself in my mind over and over. Minutes, hours, days? I don't usually write it until the song is coming together in my head. ( again I can't say for sure because it's not happening right now. )

I do write stuff down in paper notebooks but I don't have those interchangeable hooks in the books. Each idea is part of a specific song that needs to reach the light of day.


I'd love to hear how @Mr Sydney or at @Olbigead do it. :)
Bill
Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

November Sound is based on the Mother, Father & Son musical trio of Melissa, Bill & Will. I'm the father so anything I post will have my wife singing and/or my son playing percussion.


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Re: The Hook
Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 13:58:50
Howdy all,

It's been a few hundred years since I visited...sorry but life dictates how much time one can spend at various sites. Anyway, I saw my friend Bill gave me a push...so here I am.

As for "hooks"....if you listen to my songs on SC you hear that I run about 50/50 when it comes to including a hook in my songs. Why you ask?  No clue at all!  Sometimes they write themselves, other times the story I tell doesn't need one a hook....I feel that the story itself is the hook. I don't keep a "hook book" nor do I ever write down an idea for song that I'll let ferment for awhile. The ideas sit in a dusty corner of my mind until they are ready to be written.  I'm trying to think if I've ever started with a hook and written around it....but I can't think of anytime I've done that. Then again, I can't remember breakfast.

 I guess all I can say to @Kellyanneg  is keep your mind open...things as simple as statement made by someone can be turned into a hook and a song. Sounds like you're already doing that. Let it flow. Are you on Soundcloud?  Since I haven't been here for ages, I'm not familiar with your songs.

One of the favorite "hooks" is in the song "Less Road Ahead" https://soundcloud.com/user-482925652/less-road-ahead-collab-wbill-rood-jr    Bill kindly added killer tenor sax and made my song come to life!

cheers!
James



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Re: The Hook
Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 14:20:53
I don't start with a hook. Once I have a song in progress and the lyrics are forming I look for one to come along.

As you write more and more you'll find those hook lyrics showing up a lot more.
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

"Special thanks to Steve Gleason for making me who I am today." Leonard Scaper

Lenny's Tunes: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=540680

https://soundcloud.com/vincentgleason


Re: The Hook
Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 15:28:54
@Bill from November Sound @Leonard Scaper @Mr Sydney yes I agree and write the same way....I've read and seen videos on "follow this hit structure", or "map the song out", and none of that works for me, it feels like I'm going against the grain. @Mr Sydney what a strong, well written song that is!! Awesome writing!  @Bill from November Sound great sax!! Added a nice touch! I was curious as to trying different ways to create, but I'm most comfortable letting the hooks come about as the song is written. Yes, Bill,Ive had ideas or lines sit in my head, sometimes they try to get me out of bed at odd hours begging to be put on paper lol.


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Re: The Hook
Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 19:05:31
hi @Kellyanneg @Bill from November Sound @Mr Sydney (good to see you in the kitchen again  ;D ;D ;D) @Leonard Scaper

i think that hooks generally reveal themselves ..when the song is written, or even only after the song is written and recorded....
that is why i like remixing songs, for songwriters who are ok with their song being messed up  ;D ;D ;D, it feels like i get to pick the hook  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D or what i think is the hook  ;D ;D ;D ;D

btw, do hooks always have to be lyrical.. hooks?
sometimes a hook of a song can also be a few measures instrumental part that makes everybody remember the song, right  ??? ::) ::)

just wondering
me, myself, and Pie


Re: The Hook
Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 19:14:14
@Dutchbeat I agree! It's like the home point of the song, lyrical or musical. :yes:


Re: The Hook
Reply #7 on: April 15, 2019, 19:25:51
That's cool @Mr Sydney  … I thought you probably wrote quickly! Your songs always seem like well told stories so I guess you spin them around in your mind a while and then put them out there. "Where's the Fun in That?" has a great hook! Then the brass band comes in!  :) (I feel like this instrumental part is kind of the hook)

I also tagged @Olbigead because his songs are to me more of abstract concepts, transcendental feelings and reflections so I wonder about his writing techniques.

Would you say your songs are mostly stories @Kellyanneg  , poems, or some mix of different types? I feel like the story writers probably don't "need" the hooks as much.


Re: The Hook
Reply #8 on: April 15, 2019, 21:21:09
« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 21:23:47 by Kellyanneg »
@Bill from November Sound  interesting question...it varies. I feel like they're "scenes" in a way. I don't normally write with intention, if that makes sense. When I feel focused, I'll sit down and play and when I feel a spark of emotion or energy from it (sorry if I sound fruit-loopy lol) it kind of takes me into that territory, so to speak. As I start to write I visualize in my head, trying to see, feel, think of "and then what? Why?" to try to keep it moving. I guess they tell a story. The "Under a Bridge" song was like a story I'd say, but created then developed from a short experience. Some are conversational? ...singing what I would be saying and doing....sure is fun though.   :shinyteeth:  how about you? Does your family write together? I would love making music as a family like you do...I think that is so neat!!


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Re: The Hook
Reply #9 on: April 15, 2019, 22:47:31
That's cool @Mr Sydney  … I thought you probably wrote quickly! Your songs always seem like well told stories so I guess you spin them around in your mind a while and then put them out there. "Where's the Fun in That?" has a great hook! Then the brass band comes in!  :) (I feel like this instrumental part is kind of the hook)

I forgot about that one!  That DOES have a "hook" in the true sense.  That one did write itself in one quick sitting. Sometimes I'll have a phrase or line from somewhere and I don't think it's "time" to even pursue it...so I let it sit. Case in point https://soundcloud.com/user-482925652/too-far-gone    My wife mentioned in passing she had a "subtle discontentment" about her job. I filed that line away for months....when the time was right...out came the song. I love that kind of magic.


Re: The Hook
Reply #10 on: April 15, 2019, 23:20:11
Ha @Mr Sydney  I love that " Subtle discontentment slipped under her door....." it's like a document or maybe a gelatinous creature of some sort?  :)

Well @Kellyanneg ... I'm the creative one. Melissa & Will are the talented ones ... both semi-elite level music performers. ( think Carnegie Hall Choirs, featured soloists, Drum Corps tours, etc.) I write. They tell me if it's no good ... ha,ha!!!  :D  Will helps with the musical arrangements, though.



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Re: The Hook
Reply #11 on: April 16, 2019, 02:15:33
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 02:48:48 by Mar T. »
@Bill from November Sound @Leonard Scaper @Mr Sydney yes I agree and write the same way... I've read and seen videos on "follow this hit structure", or "map the song out", and none of that works for me, it feels like I'm going against the grain. @Mr Sydney what a strong, well written song that is!! Awesome writing!  @Bill from November Sound great sax!! Added a nice touch! I was curious as to trying different ways to create, but I'm most comfortable letting the hooks come about as the song is written. Yes, Bill,Ive had ideas or lines sit in my head, sometimes they try to get me out of bed at odd hours begging to be put on paper lol.
Haha I'm afraid I'm the culprit for sharing those vids, BUT I mentioned that 'trying to capture or map out a song structure' will only work if you try to recreate what's already on the air today.. and it will KILL any creativity.. I'm all-in for trying new things and creativeness, so I love this discussion!

To me the hook is what evolves when writing. More like a theme, or recurring recognisable sound/vocal part, that exists just because the creator did a lot of thinking, writing, collecting feedback, thinking writing etc. Like as a result of exploration, for that particular creation. From that angle the hook is certainly not by definition the chorus, although the chorus can also be a great hook.

So when I'm abstracting away, I feel that 'hooks' develop because of the writer (lyrics) / creator (music) (can be the same person) reiterates through the creation process and somehow (in the end, after all repeating cycles) unintendedly leaves an 'element',  kind of 'footprint' throughout the created 'song'.

There's (again) no right or wrong here, I think it differs for every writer/creator. It depends on the songwriting process/workflow you're developing/fitting to your own needs. And the cool part is that's exactly what defines a creator's creations. That unique perspective. A hook is a signature imo, that suits/summarizes your creation.

To point out a few differences for different writers/creators I'll bring up the source of inspiration.
Some of us songwriters are inspired by sounds, others by words, others by a combination of both. Some are inspired by rhythm, others by chords.., others by 'life'. And again everybody has a unique preference for how much a certain kind of 'input' or 'feedback' we prefer to elaborate/develop upon.

And then we have our creative brains combining all the inputs/feedback and start shaping it.. So a creator/artist is converting input/feedback/rethinking to some kind of 'processed' output. Output the creator likes. In many aspects.. Can be the mix, the sound, the groove/rhythm, the chords, the story, the words, the same aspects the creator was interested in when he/she started the 'idea'. 
In the big picture we're all like VST instruments, each with our own characteristics.. We are the songs we write.. imo.. And we learn how to use ourselves as an instrument, or as a song arranger/creator/songwriter etc etc..

To bring it to a personal level I think everybody is unique and the better you 'know' who you are, the 'more recognizable' your perspective/signature  will be..

Hope this helps rather than confuses haha..

Cheers!
Mar T.
:mart:

BTW: @Mr Sydney good to see you again!!! Cheers!

EDIT: As a non-native English speaker I kept editing this post until it said what I wanted to say.. A reconizable Mar T. post hopefully ;-)


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Re: The Hook
Reply #12 on: April 16, 2019, 09:45:58
I have a 'multomap' with a system to get written pages out and fresh paper in. White, squared, lined (anything between 24 to 32) for music thingies, you name it. I use lined 28/80 grams because I write with a fountain pen. Even when in a small tent.

The system maybe entirely Dutch, because I found the equivalent nowhere.
It's A5 sized and intended for school use. Appropriate for my age. And my multo goes with me except when I go to an open mic or some such thing.

This is how it works:
Step 1: write down any train of thought without too much thinking. These are hooks/lifts or refrains/choruses
Step 2: write the story to 'book end' the thing in step 1
Step 3: put them on a pile chronologically in the bedroom recorder room
Step 4: clothes pin the text to the mic wire, push the red button, count to 4 and hit it

So, to answer your question: Yes, I start with the most catching/recognisable part of the song. Sometime the hook or the lift, sometimes the refrain or the chorus. No matter how you call it, only when the lyrics are completed I see where the original idea ended up. I more or less aim at letting the text write itself.

You have the right questions to make me think of things I normally never think about, @Kellyanneg !!! Hope it helps you think too.
Kind regards, Gus



Re: The Hook
Reply #13 on: April 16, 2019, 14:43:42
@Mar T. Well said!   :thumbsup: A wonderful summary of the songwriter it is!  (Yoda??)  Yes, following "an outline" aka boundaries,  seems to block me in and halt the creativity, but it's great to try new strategies to get this stuff out!  Your videos, I actually haven't seen! I've seen several others on youtube and read articles and even bought a little book in regards to structure, energy, etc.  Some of it hits home, some doesn't, and the book is buried somewhere on a shelf, but we/I take in what we want to, and apply as desired.

@LePlongeur I love your replies! They're like these little secret doors that have something unpredictably intriguing behind them.  They make me smile.   ;D

Bottom line, let it be what it is. Can't force it, and we each have our own way, our own formula. Even if it's simply being an intuitive feeling or knowing, at least what is right for us, and for what we wish to express.

I love this stuff....going for another cup of java!   :pompom: :thumbsup: :loveit:


Re: The Hook
Reply #14 on: April 17, 2019, 22:27:50
Hello all, and thanks to @Bill from November Sound for asking me to join this interesting discussion!

@Kellyanneg, I agree with pretty much everything that everybody has said above. What I will say is what has worked for me over the years is to concentrate on writing songs about things that really matter to me. Hooks, hit structure etc and all these other pointers/rules/things musos talk about are just background; I don't think they help with creation. As @LePlongeur eloquently puts it, pretty much anything can be a creative starting point for a song (a story/narrative, a concept, transcendental feelings, a reflection, a chorus, a lyrical line, a rhythm, a chord, and yes even a hook). 

For me, the key is understanding that the best songwriting usually comes from things that we care most about. Once that clicked for me, then I got a lot better at songwriting. In this way, perhaps the creative processes is a bit like writing literature: write something only if you have something to say.

We all have something to say, but we need to find our way to say it.



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