Popular Music Theory

Get an insight into the fascinating world of harmony

by Christian Pabst

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11 lessons

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you will have access to this course for 1 year


11 lessons learned only 240,00 incl. VAT

This program consists out of 11 lessons that will introduce you to the basic concepts and terms that we need to know in order to understand music. It will give you not only a firm fundament in music theory but also enable you to analyse chord progressions of the songs you love.

3 hours

Skill Level:


Certified from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Personalised video feedback every lesson

Watch the video for more information or go directly to the course content

Content of the course

Lesson 1 : Intervals
In this lesson, we will talk about the construction and the sound of all the different intervals.
You will learn about:
- Practicing Intervals
- Perfect Intervals
- Major & Minor Intervals

Lesson 2 : Major & Minor
In this video, you will learn everything you need to know about the two most important tonalities: major and minor.
You will learn about:
- The Chromatic Scale
- Accidentals
- The Major Scale

- The Minor Scale
- Relative Minor
- Leading Tones

Lesson 3 : The Circle of Fifths
In this lesson, we will explore the circle of fifths and learn how to apply to our daily practicing routine.
You will learn about:
- Tonality

- Circle of Fifths 
- Including the Relative Minor into the Circle of Fifths
- Key Signatures

- Enharmonic Equivalents

- Practicing with the circle of fifths

- Recognising the fifth drop in songs & progressions

Lesson 4 : Triads
In this video, we will learn how to construct major and minor as well as augmented and diminished triads and find out their place within tonality.
You will learn about:
- Constructing triads

- Major & Minor Triads

- Augmented and diminished triads

- The triads of the major scale

Lesson 5 : Harmonic Functions
In this lesson, we will learn about the three essential harmonic functions in music, the tonic, the dominant and the sub-dominant, and their effect on music.
You will learn about:
- Essential Harmonic Functions

- I-IV-V progression

- Tonic
- Dominant and Sub-dominan

Lesson 6 : Inversions
In this video, you will learn not only how to construct different inversions of triads but also how to analyse them in a chord progression.
You will learn about:
- Inversions of triads
- Analyzing inversions in a harmonic analysis
- Recognizing inversions of triads by ear
- Notation of triad

Lesson 7 : Analysis
This lesson consists out of a thorough harmonic analysis of an often used chord scheme that includes many inversions and a short introduction to voice-leading.
You will learn about:
- Progressions with descending bass lines and inversions
- Harmonic analysis of a classic pop progression

- Voice-Leading

- Notation

Lesson 8 : The Fifth Degree in Minor
In this video, you will learn about the harmonic minor scale and its effect on progressions in minor, especially on the fifth degree.
You will learn about:
- Chord progressions in minor

- The harmonic minor scale

- The natural minor scale

- The harmonic fifth degree in minor
- Chromatic resolutions

Lesson 9 : Seventh Chords
In this lesson, we will be talking about all the different seventh chords, their construction as well as their inversions and location in a given tonality.
You will learn about:
- Constructing diatonic seventh chords

- Major 7th
- Minor 7th and Dominant 7th chords
- Half-diminished chords
- Inversions of diatonic seventh chords

- The diatonic seventh chords of the major scale

Lesson 10 : Secondary Dominants
In this video, we will explore the concept of replacing or preparing diatonic functions with secondary dominants.
You will learn about:
- Secondary Dominants
- Exemplary progressions

- Replacing or preparing diatonic functions with secondary dominants

Lesson 11 : Moll-Dur
In this lesson, we will be talking about Moll-Dur, a great concept for songwriting that will help you make your chord progressions more interesting.
You will learn about:
- The concept of Moll-Dur

- Moll - Dur Scales

- Analysis of progressions with Moll-Dur

How it works:

The course is a series of related video lessons, each structured around a specific topic or topics. By the end of this course, you will have developed a strong sense of direction in your daily study routine.

Weekly video lessons
After joining the course, you will be able to view a new video lesson weekly. Each video lesson consists of:
- Examples that musically define the sound of the topic you are studying in each video.
- A study routine section in which we first discuss how to study the specific topic of each lesson. We will then play several exercises specially written to show you how to structure your daily study routine.
- Assignments that will help you consolidate and practice what you have learned in each video.

Weekly assignments
After each lesson, you will be asked to study, practice and then video record yourself playing an assignment which may consist of several exercises. When ready, you submit the video of your assignment. The process of having to record yourself every week, significantly helps to internalise the material discussed in this course - quickly and naturally.

Weekly feedback
You will then receive a video with individual and personalised feedback to each assignment, every lesson. The personal feedback that you receive will enable you to improve and clarify any questions that might arise during your weekly study. You can view the feedback as many times as you like.