Welcome to the Hooktheory Blog

A publication about music theory, songwriting, and patterns in popular music.

  • Our greatest hits

    I analyzed the chords to 1300 songs for patterns. This is what I found.

    Part 2: I analyzed the chords to 1300 songs for patterns. This is what I found.

    Part 3: I analyzed the chords to 1300 songs for patterns. This is what I found.

  • Our latest posts

    Introducing Hookpad instruments and mixing

    Today we’re introducing exciting new features in our songwriting software, Hookpad: instruments and mixing, improved MIDI export, WAV export, and the ability to save a song to your local drive. Read on to learn more about the features or try them out in Hookpad now.

    Hookpad makes it easy to write chords and a melody that sound great together.

    Hookpad has always simplified songwriting by helping you choose chords that sound good together and guiding you to write a good melody. Now, in addition to helping you create great harmonic and melodic templates, Hookpad lets you customize the instruments that play your music, and customize how your song is exported into a digital audio workstation.

    Transform the sound and style of your songs with Hookpad’s new instrument library.

    Want an EDM bass? A synth pad? A violin section? They are all just a click away. It’s never been easier to transform the sound and style of your music. You can even adjust details like the range and volume of each instrument. Here are a couple examples of what is possible with Hookpad’s new instrument library.

    To use the new mix options, click the “Mix” button in Hookpad. From there you can add or change the instruments that play the melody and chords, choose from preselected mixes, throw down a drumtrack, or change the volume or mute an individual instrument.

    Transform your production workflow with Hookpad’s improved MIDI export.

    Hookpad’s MIDI export now has a track for every instrument in the mix. With intelligent harmony fills and the ability to independently shift the tonal center of each track, MIDI export can significantly enhance your productivity as a songwriter or producer. Hookpad plays nicely with all major digital audio workstations.

    Create a WAV file of your Hookpad project for easy sharing / distribution.

    Hooktheory Plus members can now export Hookpad projects to WAV to immediately have a high quality version to share with friends, play in iTunes, or upload to SoundCloud.

    Save/load to/from your hard drive.

    Hooktheory Plus members can now save and load Hookpad projects directly to/from your computer.

    Try these new features! Write a song in Hookpad.

    Introducing Hooktheory Plus

    Recently, we quietly rolled out a big new feature. Many of you have already discovered it, but we’re ready to talk about it publicly now that we’ve made sure all the launch day kinks have been worked out.

    Plus is Hooktheory’s new premium service, and it’s something that we’re really excited about. The initial feature set is geared mostly towards enhancements to HookPad. The following are a few of the new things that Plus members can do:

    1) Export: Export your songs to MIDI and beautifully engraved sheet music or guitar tablature.

    2) MagicChord: Plus users can ask Hookpad for help to pick the next chord in the song they are writing. Hookpad will analyze the chords you’ve already written and then look for examples of songs in the TheoryTab database that have used chords similarly to get clues as to what chord might work best next. Then it provides suggestions for you to pick from. Find the right chord in any situation!

    3) Lyrics: Plus users can add lyrics to their songs. As you type, we’ll place each syllable on the note it corresponds to. Use a hyphen for custom syllable separation.

    We also added support for MIDI input, recording, and looping. You can read about all the features of Plus here.

    We plan on adding lots more stuff soon to other parts of the site, so stay tuned!

    Hooktheory featured on WHYY Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane

    Last week, Ryan was called in as the resident popular music theory expert to discuss the “songs of the summer” with Marty Moss-Coane. Also part of the discussion was Bonnie McKee, the songwriter behind 8 #1 singles in the US, as well as Dan Deluca of the Philadelphia Enquirer. You can listen to the approximately 1 hour long show by going here. Ryan comes on at 23:20.

    As part of the show, Ryan was nice enough to analyze a few of the songs of the summer for the show. We decided to put him on the spot and have him do his analyses live without having heard the songs before for you guys to see how it’s done. You can watch his “TabCast” below. If you’re not familiar with Hookpad as a songwriting tool or want to see how to use it to contribute TheoryTabs to the database this is a great video to watch:

    TabCast #1: Summer Songs 2014 from Hooktheory on Vimeo.