The Role of Technology in the Writing of a Good Lyric

Technology has a way of making us think that thinking for longer than 10 seconds is an indication of a problem.

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Songwriting and technologyThe 21st century is definitely the age of technology. Few of us can imagine going through the day without checking our phone for something: making a phone call, checking the weather, texting, and countless other now-common activities.

Technology has taken over the arts as well. For songwriters and others that work with text, you’ve got many free online services that can help make your life easier:

And if you just can’t face writing a lyric for your new song, why not let the Song Lyrics Generator do it for you?!

Call me old school, but I bemoan the fact that we so readily ask a computer to do the things that arguably should be done by our brains. Sure, a rhyming dictionary can give us ideas within 10 seconds, and yes, it may be possible to have a computer create a lyric for you, but isn’t some of this supposed to be fun to do?

I’m not against tools that help us in our hour of need, but let me recommend something here: don’t let the speed of technology make you believe that spending a week (or a month or even a year) on a lyric is a bad thing.

A computer can come up with an enormous number of words for you to consider in milliseconds, but there is value to letting your own creative brain slow the process down and take its time.

If you’re looking for a way to get creative with words, a way of allowing your own imagination come up with something uniquely you, try the following:

  1. Grab a book off your bookshelf. (OK, you’re really into technology, aren’t you? So load up a random book in your Kindle).
  2. Open to any page and point to the first word you see.
  3. Now flip to a new page, and point to the first word you see.
  4. Within the next 5-10 seconds, write a line of lyric that starts with the first word you chose, and ends with the second one.

I just tried this myself, and chose the words “minutes” and “reached,” and created the line “Minutes later my arms reached.”

Using this method, you’ll come up with tons of lyrical lines you’ll probably never use, and one that says something surprisingly cogent and imaginative. And you’ll take pleasure in knowing that whatever you create is something you generated, not your smartphone.

I don’t have a problem with technology helping us when it makes sense, but I do have a problem with resorting to technology simply because thinking for 10 seconds didn’t give you an answer.

In music, the best solutions will sometimes come slowly. And when you finally create something that you love, the fact that it took weeks will make it all the more valuable to you.

______________Gary Ewer

Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics.  (And you’ll receive a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.“)

Posted in Opinion, songwriting.

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Daily Grind - The Mixed Bag

  2. Being stronger on the music side , but able to think up VG song themes
    come titles My most productive work comes via matching lyrics to my
    melody lines, I nearly always re work the lyrics to suit the musical journey
    I am on when the song is near completion

    If the music doesn’t pull in the listener , a great lyric will be wasted
    I also have a co writer who is great lyrical editor; not every thing we
    write is going to be a hit song, but we work on several songs at once
    and that stops us getting in a rut so to speak, thinking too hard about
    a line is something I avoid , it’s surprising how our sub conscious can
    sort out a problem for us .

    Some songs are discarded , after all a mediocre song is going to do
    nothing for us apart from increasing our knowledge, of the do’s and dont’s
    of song writing

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