Pop Music Theory

Lessons

1: Introduction

Lesson 1: Introduction

Welcome to Pop Music Theory, DrawMusic's free online music theory course.

What's music theory? Music theory is about the concepts and patterns that we find over and over again in music. It's about the language musicians use to talk about music. It's about "how music works".

Why study music theory? Here are some reasons:
  • Playing written music. Reading note-for-note written music or chord symbols both require music theory basics.
  • Learning by ear. If you want to learn songs by listening to them, without written music, it's much easier to figure out the notes if you know the common patterns.
  • Improvising. If you're making up (improvising) the notes you're playing, which pop/rock musicians often do, music theory helps you know what notes will sound good.
  • Songwriting. A key to growing as a songwriter or composer is studying the musical ideas in great songs. Music theory helps you do this.
  • Curiosity. Finally, if you're just curious—if you know some fact about music and think "OK, but why is it that way?"—music theory is all about answering those questions.

Why this site? Here are a couple of things that distinguish these lessons from other music theory Web sites:
  • Pop music emphasis. Much of the basic theory of "popular" music (including rock, blues, soul, country, jazz, etc.) is exactly the same as classical music theory. However, pop music uses many patterns which classical music doesn't; and even when the patterns are the same, pop music sometimes uses different language for them (for example, the names of chords). These lessons use the language of pop music.
  • Hands-on lessons. This isn't a dry reference; these are lessons which explain things a step at a time, with practice games and exercises to help you master what you're learning.

So, get started with Lesson 2: Pitch & Keyboard!


Lessons

1: Introduction
2: Pitch & Keyboard
3: Pitch Names
4: Letters Game
5: Sharps & Flats
6: Half-Steps
7: Whole-Steps
8: Steps Game
9: Scales
10: Major Scale 1-2-3
11: Major 1-2-3 Games
12: Major Scale 1-5
13: Major 1-5 Games
14: Chords: Major Triads
15: Major Triad Games
16: Minor Triads

© 2017 Conrad Albrecht. All rights reserved.