The Creative System of Songwriting

  • Paul Thompson
Part of the Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series (LSGE)


At the centre of the commercial record-making process is the contemporary Western popular song. Over several decades of record production, a series of musical, cultural and economic conventions have formed around the song and these conventions have established structures and constraints that the songwriter must negotiate in order to write a new song. In interviews, songwriters often describe their creative process as unfathomable, magical or spiritual, but the creative system suggests that something less mystical is happening, and this chapter offers an alternative take on contemporary Western popular songwriting by presenting the idea that songs are the result of a creative system in action (McIntyre 2012). Side A contextualizes the domain and field so that they apply to the creative tasks of songwriting, and Side B introduces the example of John Lennon and the songwriting process for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (1967) to illustrate the creative system in action.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Leeds Beckett UniversityLeedsUK

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