In a song or music, there may be a piece of catchy melody that once you hear, you immediately recognise which song it is from. Here is a situation where you might want one: in a game where a cut of a piece of music is played and you need to guess the name of the music, the catchy melody mentioned above is what we all want.

Is there any word for this kind of melody in a piece of music?

  • 1
    Riff, Earworm, (from Ohrwürmer, German, which should make it Earwig in English). Hook is correct in context (Check out my hook... Ice, Ice Baby). We speak of the million dollar riff...
    – mckenzm
    Apr 8, 2022 at 5:34
  • 1
    The long-established collocation catchy refrain has the advantage of making it clear only part of the song has this characteristic. And the "catchy" part would usually be a "refrain" (or part of it), so it should suit most contexts. Apr 8, 2022 at 10:50
  • 3
    @mckenzm For completeness, in English we exclusively use the form earworm, mirroring the German, for a catchy song. "Earwig" in English always means strictly the insect.
    – J...
    Apr 8, 2022 at 18:32
  • catchy phrase is not for music.
    – Lambie
    Apr 15, 2022 at 15:21

8 Answers 8


It is possible that you are looking for the word hook.

A hook is a musical idea, often a short riff, passage, or phrase, that is used in popular music to make a song appealing and to "catch the ear of the listener". The term generally applies to popular music, especially rock, R&B, hip hop, dance, and pop. In these genres, the hook is often found in, or consists of, the chorus. A hook can be either melodic or rhythmic, and often incorporates the main motif for a piece of music.

Hook (music)

  • 2
    This is the best answer for a portion of a musical work. I'll also throw in: an unusually "catchy" work is often called an earworm. Apr 7, 2022 at 14:59
  • I've heard it said that "the hook brings you back."
    – Tom
    Apr 8, 2022 at 20:41
  • 2
    There's a difference. A hook is composed to be easily recalled or to easily remind the hearer of the complete song. An earworm is what sticks in one person's mind for a period of time; it might not have been composed with that in mind, and, even if many people hear the same music, it might become an earworm for some but not for others.
    – Rosie F
    Apr 10, 2022 at 7:40

Normally, the catchiest part of any song is the part which is repeated a number of times throughout the song, not the beginning of the song. That particular part is called the "chorus", but there is also a word specifically for the catchiest part of a song and it's called "hook".

  • 1
    What if the catchiest part is the prelude?
    – Michael
    Apr 7, 2022 at 14:29
  • 1
    @Michael Then it can be called the "hook" Apr 7, 2022 at 14:33


a song or melody that keeps repeating in one's mind


  • 3
    I’ve usually heard this refer to the entire song, though, rather than the catchiest part.
    – Davislor
    Apr 8, 2022 at 5:41

Tune is a way of expressing the catchy part of a piece of music.

A melody, especially one that characterizes a particular piece of music.


This may or may not be closer to what you're looking for than the other answers, but worth mentioning "motif": a recognizable piece of melody, especially when isolated from other musical elements and reapplied in different situations.

"Hook" is more likely to apply if you've featured either a random snippet, or a full line or more, of the most recognizable part of the song. "Motif" may apply if you're featuring a line or less and focusing on the notes in the melody, not the arrangement, of any part of the song.


Maybe a jingle:

a short verse or song marked by catchy repetition — MW


Hook for pop music. Classical music has motifs:

motif -

a short succession of notes producing a single impression; a brief melodic or rhythmic formula out of which longer passages are developed.

"the motif in the second violin is submerged by the first violin's countermelody"

  • 2
    You need to cite your source.
    – Laurel
    Apr 9, 2022 at 19:55

I would say a gimmick, but it seems to be more qualifying commercials songs, as it wears a meaning of "getting something from you"

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .