When I listen to a song and decide that I like it, I don’t usually think about what the elements were that made me like it. Somehow I just know I like it. Was it the words, the story within the song, the sound of the music, the rhythm, or the combination of notes? After reading about the “hook” in music and listening to Robert Kapilow’s podcast interview, I realize that there is a lot more to creating a compelling piece of music than I originally thought.
I would like to think of the “hook” in music as the lead sentence in a written story. It is the “hook” that is used to catch the ear of the listener. As one reads a story the beginning is the part in which the author draws the reader in. In music the hook will determine if the listener shuts off the radio or keeps listening just as the lead in a story will determine if the reader will continue. Interestingly though in music, it is not always the words that catch the listener's ear. Robert Kapilow discusses many techniques that are used to make a song profound, and what causes a “sticky idea”. It could be a repeating rhythm that increasingly gets higher causing anticipation. It could be a variety in the musical rhythm but a repetition in words. It could be the cultural and social ties that the song has to us giving us a sense of belonging.
Teaching students to be aware of the elements that draws one into the song will allow students to think critically and make connections between their literature studies and music.