You can use Hookpad for free right in the browser (there is nothing to install). Go here to try Hookpad or click the getting started link at the bottom of the page.
Why Hookpad? The Problem With Music Composition Software
In existing software for writing music, beginners often don’t know where to start. It can be really intimidating. Even for experts, existing tools lack awareness of how music is structured.
Hookpad solves these issues by building in concepts from music theory to create a tool for writing songs that is more approachable for beginners and more useful for experienced songwriters.
Hookpad (by default) shows only the notes and chords in the song’s key, coloring each note to denote its musical function.
Hookpad also knows about chords and shows which ones are likely to work in your song. Based on the other chords in your progression, Hookpad can suggest where to go next and can provide a guide for what notes might sound good in the melody above each chord.
How Hookpad Makes Creating Music Easy
Here’s a short video showing how easy it is to write a basic melody and chord progression with Hookpad:
For someone who’s never written music before, Hookpad can be a revelation. We’ve been told “it’s like Legos for music”. With Hookpad, literally anyone can write a song. Hookpad is used in 100s of schools around the world and by serious musicians and composers of all genres from classical to EDM, pop, and rock.
Here’s a live demo walking through what Hookpad can do when you combine the more complex harmonies it is capable of with its new advanced sound engine.
What’s New In Hookpad 2
Hookpad’s new capabilities are:
Key Changes, Tempo Changes, Meter Changes, and Band Changes Within a Project You can now change the key, tempo, meter, or band as many times as you want within a project.
Expanded Library of Sounds And Instruments Hookpad 2 has all of the Hookpad 1 sounds plus 42 guitar presets, 108 drums, 72 leads, and 61 basses.
Measure-Level Exporting Hookpad 2 lets you export sections of your song with measure granularity.
Chord Bass Collections Hookpad 2 lets you choose from a palette of chords that share a common bass note.
Expanded Support for Simple and Compound Meters Hookpad 2 supports standard time signatures for simple and compound meters. Drum, guitar, and harmony instrument rhythms adjust automatically based on the meter.
More Intuitive Entry and Editing The familiar text-like entry mode is still supported, but a new entry mode allows lets you edit without affecting music ahead of the edit point.
Improved Performance Hookpad 2 is more performant and no longer requires the Adobe Flash Plugin.
Try Hookpad Yourself
Type 1-7 in the chord and melody regions to get started.
If you want to play with fully editable advanced examples (from Metal and Rock, to Bach) you can also load in a demo song from the File menu –> Open a Demo Song:
The Hooktheory team sat down for an interview with Christopher Sutton on the Musical-U Podcast. We had a great discussion about Hooktheory, our thoughts on music theory, songwriting, and much more. Check it out!
We recently released an update to Hooktheory I: Music Theory for Songwriting. It mostly involved format changes and minor copy edits. However, a small section on pedal harmony was removed from the chapter on inverted chords. We thought we’d post this material to our blog for all to benefit from (and so that previous owners of the web version still have access to the content). Enjoy!
Chris Sutton and our friends over at Easy Ear Training recently published in-depth reviews of Hooktheory’s two books, Hooktheory I and Hooktheory II, that teach music theory and songwriting concepts in a simple, intuitive way, without sheet music.
He writes that “it is essential reading for any musician who wants to grasp music theory in an intuitive way, understand how songs are put together, and start recognising notes and chords by ear. Highly recommended!”
Thanks for the positive and in-depth reviews, Chris!
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 eight #1 singles in the US, as well as Dan Deluca of the Philadelphia Enquirer.
I recently stumbled across John August‘s podcast, ScriptNotes, and thought this was worth sharing. For those of you who don’t know who John is, he’s the screenwriter behind Charlie’s Angels, Go, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate factory (the one with Johnny Depp, not Gene Wilder) and bunch of stuff you’ve almost certainly heard of.
It turns out he’s a Hooktheory fan.
…And he wrote a really nice review that made me smile. Thanks John! (if you’re into screenwriting and movies check out his podcast).
This article is Part 3 of a multipart series looking at the statistics gathered from 1300 choruses, verses, etc. of popular songs to discover the answer to some interesting questions about how popular music is structured. Click here to read Part 1.
In this article, we’ll continue our exploration into the patterns evident in the chords and melody of popular music. First we will look at the relative popularity of different inversions (e.g. a C/E chord vs. G/B, etc.) based on the frequency that they appear in chord progressions found in the Hooktheory Analysis Database. Then we will take a statistical look at how inversions are most often used. For example, if an inverted chord is found in a song, what can we say about the probability for what the next chord will be that comes after it? This will be compared with how the non-inverted counterpart of the chord is used (e.g. a C/E vs. a C).
The internet has been abuzz recently with reports of the deterioration in quality of music. Of particular note: a recent Spanish study which purportedly proved it, scientifically no less.
We want to set the record straight about pop. In this article we’ll respond to some of the common complaints that are being made about popular music and show that, in reality, things just aren’t all that bad.
It’s the 4th of July, and, along with fireworks and flags, that means patriotic music (at least for our American readers). In that spirit, we will be analyzing a famous 4th of July tune and looking at how some of the chords it uses show up in modern music. The song we’ll be looking at is the beautiful Battle Hymm of The Republic.
This article is Part 2 of a multipart series looking at the statistics gathered from 1300 choruses, verses, etc. of popular songs to discover the answer to some interesting questions about how popular music is structured. Click here to read Part 1.
In Part 1, we used the database to learn what the most frequently occurring chords are in popular music and also started looking at the likelihood that different chords would come after one another in chord progressions.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll continue this exploration into the patterns evident in the chords and melody of popular music. First we’ll look at how popular music ends musical ideas and discuss a surprising difference between popular music and classical music. Then we’ll talk about the most popular chord progression used by songs in the database and discuss the ubiquity of this progression. Finally we will revisit the question of “which chords occur most frequently in popular music” and look at the reasons for why this is the case.
For many people, listening to music elicits such an emotional response that the idea of dredging it for statistics and structure can seem odd or even misguided. But knowing these patterns can give one a deeper more fundamental sense for how music works; for me this makes listening to music a lot more interesting. Of course, if you play an instrument or want to write songs, being aware of these things is obviously of great practical importance.
In this article, we’ll look at the statistics gathered from 1300 choruses, verses, etc. of popular songs to discover the answer to a few basic questions. First we’ll look at the relative popularity of different chords based on the frequency that they appear in the chord progressions of popular music. Then we’ll begin to look at the relationship that different chords have with one another. For example, if a chord is found in a song, what can we say about the probability for what the next chord will be that comes after it?