In this lesson you will learn:
Notes of the White Piano Keys
White piano keys are called naturals. They sound a natural (♮) note when pressed, as opposed to a sharp or flat.
There are seven naturals on the keyboard: C-D-E-F-G-A-B
After the B, the scale repeats itself on the next C. This means you only have to memorize seven notes!
Take note of the pattern in picture #1. Observe:
● The alphabetical order from left to right.* (Some Northern European countries use H to signify a B natural, and B to signify B flat.)
● There is no H note!*
After G, the letters start back at A.
Try It: Find a C note on your keyboard, and identify each white key until you reach the next C. Do this until you feel comfortable enough with the keyboard to name the notes in random order.
Notes of the Black Piano Keys
Black piano keys are called accidentals, and they are just that: the sharps and flats of the piano.
On the keyboard, there are five black accidentals per octave. They can be either sharp or flat, and are named after the notes they modify:
- Sharp (#)
A sharp makes a note a half step higher in pitch.
On the keyboard, a note’s sharp is the black key directly to its right (See picture #2).
Try It: Find a C note on your keyboard, and identify its sharp. *
- Flat (b)
A flat makes a note a half step lower in pitch.
On the keyboard, a note’s flat is the black key directly to its left.
Try It: Find a D note and identify its flat on the keyboard. *
* Both examples point to the same black key. When notes go by more than one name, it’s called “enharmony.”
Memorize the Notes on the Piano Keyboard
- Identify the white keys individually, and practice naming them until you can find each note without counting from C.
- You don’t need to memorize each sharp and flat by name just yet, but remember how to locate them on the keyboard using the natural keys.