Songwriting Tip: “Drawing Maximum Attention To Your Hook” by Ralph Murphy
As you go through your song’s story and the verses, check your rhyme scheme. Whatever it is — change it in your chorus.
For instance, change an A B A B rhyme scheme to A B C B.
The reason you do this is to subtly alert listeners that something important is coming. A change in rhyme scheme combined with the change in melody going into the chorus should have them ready for the hook.
A couple of effective ways to get the most out of your hook (90 percent of the time, your title is the final line or hook) are to:
1. Put an internal rhyme immediately preceding the hook line
For an example,
“I love you, you love me too,
But we can’t make it”
“I hate your dog, he ate my frog,
And now I hate you.”
“And now I hate you” and “But we can’t make it” are the lines you intended to emphasize (i.e your hooks).
2. Don’t rhyme your hook with anything
A great example of this can be found in Larry Henley’s and Jeff Silbar’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.” In their chorus, except for a very subtle implied rhyme with the word “everything,” which is tucked in the middle of the second line (“and everything I’d like to be”), the title stands alone. It’s also, on examination, made very singable by the use of alliteration. The W’s in “Wind Beneath My Wings” really make it soar. (I hope “soar” is spelled right!)
Write a hit!
Ralph Murphy, hit songwriter and expert, has been successful for five decades. He wrote huge hit songs such as Crystal Gayle’s “Talking in Your Sleep” and “Half the Way”. Consistently charting songs in an ever-changing musical environment makes him a member of that very small group of professionals who make a living ding what they love to do. Add to that the platinum records as a producer, his success as the publisher and co-owner of the extremely successful Picalic Group of Companies and you see a pattern of achievement based on more than luck. Achieving “hit writer” status has always been a formidable goal for any songwriter. Never more so however than in the 21st century. Catching the ear of the monumentally distracted, fragmented listener has never been more difficult. Getting their attention, inviting them in to your song and keeping them there for long enough for your song to become “their song” requires more than being just a “good” songwriter.