I attempted to post a question regarding a musical hook but was told it was extremely ill defined so I am asking how I should define musical hook.

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    Interesting approach, Randy. :) This question makes sense, and I would classify it as a terminology question (you can add that as a tag). Basically, you are asking whether there is existing terminology/research on a specific concept you describe. What is missing, though, is that you do not describe the concept you are interested in. For example, suppose I would ask "I attempted to post a question regarding a bedjidizzle but was told it was extremely ill defined so I am asking how I should define bedjidizzle ." ... How would we go about answering that question?
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 11:03
  • Likely related (awaiting your edit): Are there any studies that examine the phenomenon of songs stuck in the head?
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 11:30
  • You could include/cite the Wikipedia definition, in case this is in line with what you would describe as a 'musical hook'.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 11:33
  • Why would anyone need to describe a concept of a musical hook? If one posted a question about lyme disease is there an expectation to include a definition? Jun 18, 2018 at 16:43
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    Yes. We are a scientific stack. Aligning definitions is essential to making sure everybody is taking about the same thing. Similarly, scientific articles cite specific papers when important concepts are introduced. This is especially important in a multidisciplinary field where concepts might overlap, yet differ, with other fields (such as music). An answer can only be as good/specific as the question which induced it.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 17:32
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    You'll have to explain to me why there is question about the understanding of a musical hook. Can you offer some examples of questions about lyme disease, or perhaps 'cancer' or 'cell' where the OP provided, or was prompted to provide, some definition? Jun 18, 2018 at 18:42
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    My current understanding of 'your' musical hook is that the question I linked to before could be considered a duplicate of the question you asked originally (and now deleted). Without you clarifying whether this is the type of research you were interested in, I have no way of helping you further.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 19:05
  • I did not look at that link because it was moot in light of the criticism of the question. As I did not think it appropriate to try and defend those questions I deleted the question. (What else was there to do?) Jun 18, 2018 at 20:28
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    If you insist. Look at the original version of this question posted around the same time as yours, which only really became clear after the OP had provided context and definitions (as requested through comments, now removed since it is no longer relevant).
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 21:01
  • I don't know what to say here. In her question are the terms cognitive load and cognitive capacity, without definition. You say they were defined in the comments but since removed. ??? So how would new viewers of the question know what she means by cognitive load and cognitive capacity? I think you should delete the question because I have to conclude you're not conversing with me in good faith and no one else has attempted an answer. I'm not going to delete it because I want others to see this conversation. Jun 18, 2018 at 21:25
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    Cognitive load is a pretty well defined term within the field of cognitive psychology, unlike 'musical hook'. Furthermore, a specific definition and interpretation of exactly what type of cognitive load is implied in that specific question is now available in the paper which is referenced. I am conversing with you in good faith. I provided you with concrete guidelines and even suggested links to improve on the phrasing of your question which you instead have so far chosen to ignore. The time you have spent arguing that clarifying your question is unnecessary you could easily have edited it.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 21:36
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    P.s. I started editing your question, considering linking to the Wikipedia post on 'musical hook', and gave up on the edit as I felt I started to presume too much on your behalf what you might be asking. Trust me, we are only really here to try to help, but we can't read minds.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 18, 2018 at 21:44
  • "This question makes sense.... you can add that as a tag)." I did. Immediately. "... you are asking whether there is existing terminology/research on a specific concept you describe." I am not. And this question is NOT related to songs being stuck in one's head. It's NOT good faith to make presumptions then accuse that you shouldn't have to read minds. "The time you have spent arguing...." There's nothing that needs clarification. You said it was clear. Then you read into it what wasn't there, and here we are. You made the presumptions here. I solely responded. Jun 18, 2018 at 23:59
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat. Jun 19, 2018 at 4:03

1 Answer 1


Thank you for clarifying in your comments that this question is not a terminology question. This seemingly was a misunderstanding on my part where I was trying to interpret the question in such a way that it could remain open on the main site. If it were phrased as a terminology question, it would be quite clear and welcome there, e.g.:

I know about the concept of a 'musical hook': 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"." Is this studied within the field of psychology or neuroscience? Is there any domain-specific terminology used to refer to what makes music appealing or 'catch the ear of the listener'?

If this is your question, go ahead, copy/paste it, and post it as is.

Since you now indicate this is not what you are asking, I will have to presume (please correct me when I'm wrong) that this question in fact belongs on meta (it is a question about a question), which is why I moved it here. Specifically, you seem to be asking how within the question which you have now deleted you should define 'musical hook':

What is the taxonomy of a musical hook?

I'm attempting to ask is science is able to define, or perhaps model, the response criteria that humans use to create preferences.

For example a hit song. Why was "Satisfaction" far more popular than other Stones songs available at the time?

Does the bell curve apply in this instances?

I presume you asked this given the lengthy comment asking for clarification I left behind, in particular, the bolded part:

As is, this question is extremely unclear/ill-defined. You do not define 'musical hook', thus it would be hard to know what 'taxonomies' you would be interested in. Providing an example could clarify this. What do you mean by "the response criteria that humans use to create preferences"? What preferences? Musical preferences? Is still related to the 'musical hook' or not? What do you mean by 'response criteria'? Why do you mention a 'bell curve'? How is the song 'Satisfaction' related to 'musical hooks'? At a glance, it also seems you are asking more than one question. Focus on one to start.

To answer your question, you can see I already gave you guidance in that first comment on how you can define 'musical hook': (1) Providing an example could clarify this.

Alternatively, (2) you can also cite a specific source you agree with (as I do in my 'terminology' question above), which was also suggested to you in a comment.

Hopefully this clarifies how you can elaborate on concepts which are pointed out in comments as unclear.

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    @RandyZeitman You stated " I feel pretty confident [your phrasing of the question] would be met with a barrage of comments asking why I am presuming a definition of a musical hook as it’s not part of the excepted lexicon of cognitive psychology or neuroscience." We will see ... I will take the barrage of comments for you.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 19, 2018 at 9:11
  • Fantastic. I am certainly satisfied. Jun 19, 2018 at 9:13
  • @RandyZeitman There is a bit of a problem though. The research pointed to from the wikipedia page does link the 'musical hook' to "fragments of music that you cannot get out of your head, no matter how hard you try." You stated that "[your] question is NOT related to songs being stuck in one's head". I can't decide for you what the question is about.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 19, 2018 at 9:22
  • @RandyZeitman do any of the current answers answer your (terminology) question? Of course, you can ask any follow-up questions you might have as new questions.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 20, 2018 at 7:35
  • ? I know what a musical hook is. It was asserted that I did not define the term so I posted an additional question asking for that information. No one has yet offered an answer I don’t until then I have no follow-up questions because I know they will be flagged as Ill-defined. Jun 20, 2018 at 9:38
  • @RandyZeitman It is unfortunate you still prefer to blame the community (which has been nothing but receptive) over trying to learn from the feedback you have gotten so far. Regardless, I'm glad some good came out of this exchange—a question which might be useful to others in the future, even though it seemingly did not help you very much. If you did not get the answers you were looking for, that's on you, not us.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jun 20, 2018 at 11:03
  • Thank you. I acknowledge your statement. Jun 20, 2018 at 20:09

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