Introducing Hookpad 2: A Musical Sketchpad With Music Theory Built In

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

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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:

HookpadDemoSongs

Pedal Harmony: (Hooktheory I excerpt)

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!

Learn more about Pedal Harmony

Easy Ear Training’s In-Depth Review of Hooktheory’s Books

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.

You can find the Hooktheory I review here and the follow up review of Hooktheory II here. Chris does a good job discussing the concepts that are covered and talking about the type of people that stand to benefit the most from these books:

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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!

Incidentally, Hooktheory has some basic ear training exercises, but we highly recommend Easy Ear Training as well. They have a ton of great resources in this area.

Automatically Turn a Major Song Into Minor and Hear How it Sounds

Would a hit song written in a major key still be a hit song if it were written in a minor key instead? You can be the judge.

When an artist begins writing a new song, one of the first choices they must make is whether to write in a major or minor key. Songs in minor have a fundamentally different sound from songs in major.

Read about changing a song’s key

In Defense of Popular Music: Why Reports of its Death are Greatly Exaggerated

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.

Click Here To Find Out Why →