Work Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Professional Music; Songwriting


songwriting; creativity; digital audio workstation; composition; case studies


This chapter investigates the interrelationship between songwriting process and product, focusing on two digital tools that became available to songwriters toward the end of the twentieth century: the digital audio workstation (DAW) and broadband internet connectivity. Two songwriter case studies are used—a “digital immigrant” who began to write songs professionally before either of these tools were available, and a “digital native” who has always used DAWs and an internet connection in his songwriting. The participants were asked to describe their creative processes in detail, and to reflect on how these tools may have influenced their decision making and artistic direction. From these and other studies the author attempts to describe behaviors and affordances engendered by digitally enabled songwriters and to speculate regarding these tools’ influence on the creative product.


This is a draft of a chapter that was accepted by Oxford University Press in the The Oxford Handbook of the Creative Process in Music, edited by Nicolas Doninin and published in 2018.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.