Definition of hocket in US English:



  • A spasmodic or interrupted effect in medieval and contemporary music, produced by dividing a melody between two parts, notes in one part coinciding with rests in the other.

    • ‘For a moment there's a sense of a shared purpose, then individual louder notes stab through the surface, the hocket breaks down and we're back to the busy, buzzing heterophony.’
    • ‘Clips of the menson flute ensemble of the Akan of Ghana, or of Kasena flute ensemble, both of which play in hocket, could have been enlisted to strengthen the West African musical examples in this section.’
    • ‘Perhaps most energetic of all is the medley of hockets that opens the second CD.’
    • ‘It is based on a plainsong tenor, treated isorhythmically and incorporating some hocketing, while the other two voices have more complex hockets, the parts frequently crossing each other.’


Late 18th century: from French hoquet ‘hiccup’; in Old French the sense was ‘hitch, sudden interruption’ which also existed in Middle English.