Pop Music Theory


1: Introduction

Detailed Contents

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?
  • It's fun to learn how music works.
  • Songwriting. A key to growing as a songwriter is understanding how great songs work.
  • Playing written music. Reading 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.

Why this site? Here are some things that set DrawMusic's Pop Music Theory apart:
  • Free & online. Nothing to buy, nothing to install, no signup required; just free interactive lessons in your browser.
  • Step by step. If you don't know a thing about music, you can start here. We start at the beginning, explain things one step at a time, and tell you why each new concept is important.
  • Real pop music. Everything in these lessons is aimed toward helping you understand real, "popular" music (including rock, blues, R&B, country, jazz, etc.).
  • Activities. This isn't just a reference; we include online practice games and activities to help you use what you're learning.
  • Mobile-friendly. These lessons work better on Androids, iPhones, etc., than other theory sites we've seen.

To get started, you can:

Requests, questions, suggestions, problems? Tell me on Facebook or email info@drawmusic.com!


1: Introduction
2: Teaching Yourself
3: Pitch & Keyboard
4: Pitch Names
5: Letters Game
6: Sharps & Flats
7: Half-Steps
8: Whole-Steps
9: Steps Game
10: Scales
11: Major Scale 1-2-3
12: Major 1-2-3 Games
13: Major Scale 1-5
14: Major 1-5 Games
15: Chords: Major Triads
16: Major Triad Games
17: Minor Triads
18: Minor Triad Games
19: Major Scale 1-8
20: Major Scale Games
21: Scales Above 8
22: What Next
23: Keys
24: Roman Numeral Chords
25: Diatonic Triads
26: Using Diatonics
27: Tonic Function
28: Subdominant & Dominant
29: Diatonic Function Analysis
30: 7th Chords
31: 7ths Games
32: Treble Staff
33: Treble Staff Game
34: Melody: Chord Tones
35: Pitch & Frequency

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© 2018 Conrad Albrecht. All rights reserved.