How to Balance Technicality and Creativity in Your Songwriting

By | September 21, 2016
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There are many different approaches to writing a song, and they usually come in the form of either technical inspiration or creative inspiration. A technical approach to songwriting includes the use of music theory (scales, modes, harmonic theory, etc.), song form, lyric rhyme schemes and patterns, and much more. A creative approach to songwriting, on the other hand, may include exploring your instrument, writing about your own personal experiences, free-writing, and more.

There’s no right or wrong approach to songwriting, but it can be beneficial to learn how to balance one with the other. Let’s take a look at how technicality and creativity can peacefully coexist in your songwriting.

Complement your creativity with your technical skills

As songwriters, we strive to express ourselves creatively by making our songs personal and engraving our own unique voice in them. You can absolutely tell your personal story while letting the technicalities of songwriting complement the message and mood that you’re writing about.

For example, you may want to get your lyrics out on paper in whatever way they flow from your brain, without editing yourself just yet. You can then go back and rewrite certain portions where you want to strengthen the imagery, tidy up the rhyme scheme, or make the phrasing flow a little better. From there, you can use your knowledge of music theory to identify a chord progression that’ll create prosody with your lyrics.

Not sure if your songs sound like they’re too technical, or not technical enough? Try asking other songwriters to listen to your music and give you feedback. If you don’t know any other songwriters in your area, you can find and connect with songwriters online at SongwriterLink.

Don’t let technicality overpower creativity

A song that is written too technically can lead to it sounding stiff, unoriginal, inauthentic, or even robotic. Of course, certain genres may inherently call for a more technical approach to songwriting, but you can still be creative with technicality in that situation. There is a balance between technicality and creativity with songwriting, and everyone has their unique way of approaching it. You want your creativity to take the lead, and the songwriting techniques to support your ideas. You can also have both approaches become mutually beneficial: when the creative juices aren’t flowing, you can use a more technical approach to your songwriting process to get your inspiration going.

The more you write, the more you’ll be able to find a balance that works for you. With a little experience, songwriters learn which approaches they’re strongest in. Many choose to work with co-writers who complement their strengths, and end up with better songs as a result. Join SongwriterLink for free to get matched up with exactly the kind of co-writers you’re looking for, anywhere in the world.


Joe Capalbo is an intern for SongwriterLink.

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