Pop Music Theory


1: Introduction

Lesson 1: Introduction

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

What's music theory? Music theory is about the ideas 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:
  • Songwriting. A key to growing as a songwriter or composer is understanding the musical ideas in great songs. Music theory helps you do this.
  • Playing written music. Reading note-for-note written music or chord symbols both require music theory basics. You can save some money on lessons if you learn the basics here!
  • 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.
  • Curiosity. Finally, if you love music and you're interested in how it works, that's what music theory is all about.

Why this site? Here are some things that set DrawMusic's Pop Music Theory apart:
  • We start at the beginning. If you don't know a thing about music, you can start here. If you're a musician but you're shaky on some basics, you can review them here. If you already know the basics, you can "jump in" to any lesson that looks interesting.
  • Pop music emphasis. Much of the basic theory of "popular" music (including rock, blues, R&B, 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.
  • Interactive lessons. This isn't just a reference; these are lessons which explain things a step at a time, with online practice games and exercises to help you master what you're learning.

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


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
17: Minor Triad Games
18: Major Scale 1-8
19: Major Scale Games
20: Scales Above 8
21: What Next
22: Keys
23: Roman Numeral Chords
24: Diatonic Triads
25: Treble Staff
26: Pitch & Frequency

© 2017 Conrad Albrecht. All rights reserved.