This tutorial provides an overview of and introduction to Rissanen's Minimum Description Length (MDL) Principle. The first chapter provides a conceptual, entirely non-technical introduction to the subject. It serves as a basis for the technical introduction given in the second chapter, in which all the ideas of the first chapter are made mathematically precise. The main ideas are discussed in great conceptual and technical detail. This tutorial is an extended version of the first two chapters of the collection "Advances in Minimum Description Length: Theory and Application" (edited by P.Grunwald, I.J. Myung and M. Pitt, to be published by the MIT Press, Spring 2005).