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Dear members of the SMT Discuss community,
I would like to know if anybody could recommend any music theory articles that relate to the idea of “hook” vs. “glue” in chord progressions as discussed by Coker, Knapp, and Vincent in the following passage from their introduction to their 1997 jazz text-book “Hearin' the changes: Dealing with unknown tunes by ear.” I am particularly interested in finding articles (or books) that discuss this topic in the context of music other than jazz but any jazz references are welcomed as well.
“There are two kinds of commonality extant in the average [jazz] tune's chord progression, and they could be referred to as "Glue" and "Hooks." "Glue" is represented by those aspects of a chord progression which are so common as to occupy approximately 60-90% of its entire length. This would include chord roots which move in the cycle (or circle) of fifths (especially the IIm7-V7-I progression and its multifarious variations and extensions) and chord roots which descend chromatically. In itself, "Glue" does little to attract interest or create excitement. It is so commonplace that it sounds virtually uneventful, mostly serving to cement chords and keys together in a logical fashion. However, the glue portions of a progression are easy to recognize by ear and easy to memorize. They are a good place to begin our study of chord progressions, and at the very least are a signal to the improviser that the progression is momentarily "idling" somewhere within the key and probably not requiring much in the way of harmonic interpretation with regard to scalar/note adjustments. The "Hook," on the other hand, is represented by those aspects of a progression that are highly significant, perhaps even the sound that distinguishes one tune from another, or enables an improviser to recognize a specific tune (perhaps the only tune) which utilizes that sound. "Hooks" offer contrast to the more 'vanilla' "Glue," and exist in much smaller quantity, perhaps only 1-3 "Hooks" in the entire progression. They are generally unexpected surprises of a dramatic, inspiring sort. Some of the possibilities for a "Hook" are unusual root motion, unusual chord-types, an unexpected chord resolution, or a sudden modulation to a remote key. A progression made entirely of "Glue" would probably be dull, placing a heavy burden on the quality of the given or improvised melody. A progression having nothing but "Hooks" would risk sounding illogical, fragmented, weird, harsh, aimless and, believe it or not, dull because of the sameness of its unpredictability. So the most successful/popular progressions will be mostly "Glue" (60-90%), but with at least one well chosen "Hook." The wise improviser· will use the Hooks as emotional, dramatic peaks in his/her solo, well worth expounding upon, being more relaxed and conversational during the "Glue." It is comforting to discover that even specific "Hooks," though less commonplace than "Glue," generally exist in a substantial number of tunes. For example, a modulation to a new key that is a major third above the first key (as in the key of C to the key of E) is a dramatic-sounding modulation (a "Hook"). Yet songwriters, recognizing that dramatic effect, have continued to write many songs which utilize that particular modulation.”
Ivan Jimenez, PhD
Music Theory and Composition
Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts