How to Make Pop Music in 6 Steps

Here is a basic beginners guide to make pop music.

Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and the United Kingdom during the mid-1950s.

The terms “popular music” and “pop music” are often used interchangeably, it includes all music that is popular.

Pop music is eclectic, and often borrows elements from other styles such as urban, dance, rock, Latin, and country; nonetheless, there are core elements that define pop music.

How to Make Pop Music - Pop Song Structure

Identifying factors include generally short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure), as well as the common use of repeated choruses, melodic tunes, and hooks. – Wikipedia

Pop songs can range from 95 to 130 beats per minute.

Let’s get started…

How to Make Pop Music

1. Play Pop Chords

Most pop songs use simple progressions usually made up of 3 note chords.

“Firework” by Katy Perry has the following chord progression: G, Am, Em, C – these chords belong to the C major scale.

Feel free to rearrange these chords over a bass line or come up with your own progression. As long as you use the notes from C major you’re playing it safe. In most cases, it will sound ok.

If you want to spice things up, you can use notes and chords from outside the scale but you’ll need a better understanding of basic music theory to break the rules in your favor.

There are tons of resources and apps out there to help you come up with chord progressions.

How to Play “13 Pop Songs” with 4 Chords

How Demi Lovato & Oak Felder Made “Sorry Not Sorry”
Oak Felder started his beat by playing a couple of chords, then building around them.

Related: Why We Love Repetition

2. Add Drums

Add Uptempo Drum Pattern
Add Uptempo Drum Pattern – Photo by Wes Hicks

Many pop beats are simple and straightforward. You should aim for a simple structure, a four to the floor or some derivation. For that extra flavor, use hi-hat patterns with different types of swing.

After selecting your sounds, start tuning them to your favorite key. When your beat is in key every other element will blend together with more ease.

If you’re still not happy with how the beat sounds, try layering more sounds over what you already have going.

This will certainly spark your creativity and will give your sound that oomph. In most cases, this is a foolproof method to get past creative blocks just make sure your sounds are tuned.

Related: Pop Drum Programming Tips And Tricks

3. Add Bass

It’s time to build a good bass groove that will keep people listening to your song.

Keep it simple, repetitive but not boring. Alternate between short and long notes and add a subtle change every now and then to keep things interesting.

You need to establish a tonality for your song. You’ve already tuned your drums to the key of C major so try to use C as the first note in your bass line.

If you’re aiming for a different feeling, you can start your line from a different note from the C major scale.

Related: Top 15 Pop Basslines

4. Add Melodies

Try playing different notes on the keyboard and start improvising.

If you’re having trouble you can always record an audio file of you humming and convert that file to MIDI.

Whatever you do keep in mind that pop melodies have a mix of repetition and variation that makes them easy to remember, but keeps them fresh enough to be interesting.

Try using passing tones if the melody is bland. Pick out just one or two notes outside the C major scale and insert them in between the notes that don’t fall on the downbeat.

Keep these notes short and don’t put too much emphasis on them.

Related: Online Music Production Courses

5. Add Variation

Pop songs can have many different beat changes for the intro, hook, chorus, and bridge. So create different variations of your beat to build into a full song.

Related: Song Structure For Pop Music Arrangements

Those are the basics of creating a pop song. Check out the many examples below to see real examples of creating a pop hit.

6. Pop Song Structure

This videos shares the basics of Pop song structure.

How to Make Pop Music – Tutorials

You can see from the videos below there are many talented music producers online. With practice, you can make great pop music also.

See Charlie Puth Break Down Emotional Hit Song, “Attention”

How to Make Music Like The Chainsmokers ( FL Studio )

Making A Pop Song From Scratch In Logic Pro

Making A Pop Beat for Mike Posner

Making a Pop Beat

How to Make Halsey x Justin Bieber Future Bass Pop Type Beat Tutorial

The Middle: Watch How a Pop Hit Is Made | NYT – Diary of a Song

I hope you found these tips to be helpful.

Do you have tips to making a pop music? Please share below.

Thanks for reading.

Related: How to Make Beats

Mark V.

Written By Mark V.

Mark Valenzuela is a professional blogger, entrepreneur, and educator with more than 15 years of experience in music production. In 2008, Mark founded Hip Hop Makers, a top resource for aspiring music producers and beatmakers. He specializes in content on music production, software, gear, and free music resources. Committed to empowering creators of all levels, Mark continues to inspire and help music creators pursue their dreams. Learn About Hip Hop Makers

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