Lesson 1: Introduction
Pop Music Theory
is a free, online, music theory
Pop Music Theory starts at the beginning
(no prior music knowledge
required). Our goal is for you to learn to analyze
how real songs are
composed, and apply the ideas you learn to creating your own music
Pop vs. Classical
Different "music theory languages" are used for different types of music:
Traditional "classical" or "common practice period" music theory is
used for music in the styles of, for example, Bach or Beethoven.
"Pop" music theory works better for understanding modern "popular"
music styles (including rock, blues, R&B, country, jazz, etc.).
The basics (pitch names, major scales, written notes) of classical and
pop theory are the same, but they quickly diverge as we get more advanced.
This Pop Music Theory
course uses pop theory language, and we focus on
understanding modern popular music
Playing vs. Composing
Music theory can be divided into:
"Playing" theory: Things you need to know just to play pop
music, e.g. playing chords or reading rhythms.
"Composing" theory: Understanding how songs are actually written,
e.g. choosing chords and composing melodies.
This course covers both playing theory and composing theory. We cover "playing
theory" because it's the foundation of "composing theory"; but our main goal
is the "composing theory", to understand how real songs are created, to help
you create your own music
A Plan for Beginners
This course starts at the beginning
; you can start these lessons with
no music knowledge at all. However, this is not a one-stop "complete music
course". In addition to the "theory" and songwriting tips in these lessons,
you also need to:
Learn to play lots of songs!
Once you've worked through Lesson 16: Minor Triad Games
in this course, you'll
know enough to start learning to play real songs. This course doesn't teach
you to play
songs; it would take too long, and most people do best with
a real in-person piano/keyboard or guitar teacher.
After Lesson 16: Minor Triad Games
, once you've learned to play a few songs,
then you'll be ready to continue in these lessons (but keep learning to play
more songs too!), to understand how the songs are created and help you create
your own. Of course, you can
take this whole course without playing any
songs, but you'll understand it much better if you're playing songs also.