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Creating a Hit

12CreatingHit_0Every famous rock band has at least one hit song to their credit; it's just part of the job description. But most of these stars didn't stumble into their hit single overnight. It took months, or maybe even years, of writing, re-writing and recording to latch onto the track responsible for catapulting them into stardom. But whether they worked for days or months or years, these famous rock bands knew instinctively what it took to write a hit song. Read on, and so will you.

Forget the Trends

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when writing a hit song is that imitation rarely pans out in the long run. Though you may have noticed a specific trend in rock music -- pop-punk, for instance, or maybe a resurgence of new-wave -- the music industry moves so quickly that by the time your song makes it to the airwaves, the trend may have passed. And hit singles do not operate on the better-late-than-never policy; if you've caught on to a trend mere days late, audiences will view you as a poor, starstuck imitation. Following trends unfortunately can hurt your career (and the life of your hit song) far more than help it.

Of course, it's perfectly fine to work from your influences while creating a hit. Just be absolutely certain that you're writing exactly what you want to write, not what you think will sell. Most rock and pop groups rise to stardom based purely on their willingness to take songwriting risks.

Hunt the Hook

Think about one of your favorite songs, one you know by heart. Now imagine that you're trying to remind someone of it, someone who doesn't know the song title, and hum the most recognizable part. That's the hook.

A hook is a clear melody that functions as the catchiest and most definitive part of a hit song. It can be found in the vocals, the guitars, the keyboards -- some songs even manage to put a rhythmic hook in the drums (Nirvana's Scentless Apprentice, for instance). But wherever it is, it has to be there; hooks are what make songs catchy, what keep them in the minds of listeners. Creating a hit song is often a matter of hunting that perfect hook.

So how does a songwriter write amazing hooks? To be honest, there's no clear formula for hook-writing; you just have to feel it. You can, however, beef up your ability to hear, and write, the sort of hooks found in hit singles. Sit down with several of your favorite records and find the hooks in each hit song. On what instrument are they played? How often do they come up? Are they mimicked on any of the other instruments? Mapping out the way hooks work in your favorite hit singles is a great way to figure out how you could make one work in your song.

Solidify the Structure

Finding the perfect structure is sometimes the most difficult part of creating a hit. Sure, it may seem easy enough -- just put a few parts back to back and call it a day, right? -- but a strange or messy structure can ruin a song that may have otherwise been your hit single.

The verse-chorus-verse structure is the kind most frequently found in hit songs, but it comes with several variants. Consider the following structures taken straight from hit songs, and see how some artists chose to put their songs together:

Chorus/Intro - Verse - Pre-Chorus - Chorus - Verse - Pre-Chorus - Chorus - Solo - Chorus - Outro
(Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" -- this is a very typical sort of arrangement for hit songs. The intro is based directly on the chorus, and the solo is played over a verse variant.)

Intro - Verse - Solo - Verse - Chorus - Solo - Verse - Chorus - Chorus - Outro
(Scorpions, "Still Loving You" -- a strange arrangement, but one that works based on the huge dynamics of the song. The intro is a verse variant, as are the solos, and the outro is a mixture of the verse and chorus. )

Intro/Hook - Verse - Pre-Chorus - Chorus - Intro/Hook - Verse - Pre-Chorus - Chorus - Intro/Hook - Solo - Chorus - Outro/Hook
(Elastica, "Connection" -- another basic structure, except this one places the most recognizable hook in the intro and then subsequently throughout the song. The verse is a variant of that, and the chorus is mostly a build-up to the hook.)

The most important thing to notice about these three hit songs, and most hit songs of their type, is that the chorus comes up at least three times. As the chorus is usually the part carrying the hook (except for the Elastica song, which repeats the hook part three times as well), it's important to get it in your hit single as often as possible without overdoing it. Three repetitions are fairly tidy; any less and you risk burying the most important part, but any more and you might bore your audience.

It's also important that you keep it short. Hit singles usually clock in somewhere between three and four minutes, with three-and-a-half being the most common. Some hit songs do break this rule, but it's usually after the artist has been established. The Scorpions track, for instance, is a little over five minutes, but it's a very slow ballad. It also isn't their most notable hit; "Rock You Like a Hurricane" conforms to the standard length of hit singles.If you are a business owner get listed at Best Education Site, part of Localwin Network.
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