Naming The Notes of The Piano Keyboard

By | May 7, 2018

Understanding the piano keyboard layout is extremely useful for all musicians. Because the notes of the keyboard are laid out so visually, it is very easy to see relationships between them. Therefore it is a logical choice of instrument on which to practice building chords and scales solely from our knowledge of music theory. Because of it’s extensive range from low to high and the ease with which one can play many notes at once, many musicians use the piano or keyboard quite a bit when composing pieces for multiple instruments.

The piano keyboard is made up of a repeating pattern of seven white keys and five black keys. The black keys are organized into alternating groups of two and three. Below is a diagram of one sequence of white and black keys, beginning with a  “C” note. Notice that the white keys are the natural notes, while the black keys represent the sharps and flats. A notes visual attributes is always the same. For example, the “C” note is always the white key directly to the left of the group of two black keys. The “F” note is always the note directly to the right of the first black key in the group of three black keys. It is recommended that you start by memorizing the position of the “C” note. All other notes can be figured out from there. The piano moves in half-steps from left to right, up the chromatic scale, repeating the pattern until we run out of keys. As you can see, we begin our diagram with a “C” note, and after one cycle through the chromatic scale it starts again with another “C” note an octave higher.

*You can search the articles in PeteWalrath.com to find information on the chromatic scale, half-steps, sharps, flats and octaves.

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