How to Write Music


10. Pitch Names on the Keyboard

Appendices:


Old (2005-2010) Article Series

Lesson 10: Pitch Names on the Keyboard

You learned about sharps and flats in Lesson 9: Pitch Names - Sharps & Flats; in this lesson, you learn how the 12 different pitches in each octave are laid out on the piano keyboard. Even if you never play piano, the piano keyboard is a good way to visualize the relationships between the pitches.

The black notes are grouped in 2's and 3's. In the section of a piano keyboard below, notice how the black notes are grouped into alternating groups of 2 black notes, then 3 black notes. These groups are how you find notes on the keyboard. Hover your mouse over a key to see its name, or click it to play it:

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C C♯/D♭ D D♯/E♭ E F F♯/G♭ G G♯/A♭ A A♯/B♭ B C C♯/D♭ D D♯/E♭ E F F♯/G♭ G G♯/A♭ A A♯/B♭ B C

Start by learning C and F. Beginning piano players usually learn to find C and F first. C is to the left of the 2 black keys; F is to the left of the 3 black keys. Here's the keyboard again, with the C and F keys labeled:

C F C F C

Once you know where C and F are, you can use them as "anchors" to find the other letters:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Finally, once you know all the white keys, you can use them to name the black keys:

C C♯ D♭ D D♯ E♭ E F F♯ G♭ G G♯ A♭ A A♯ B♭ B C

Now you've seen where all the different pitches are on the keyboard, but you need to know the keyboard so well that you don't even have to think about it. For help doing this, go on to Lesson 11: The Keyboard Game.

by Conrad Albrecht 2015. Questions, comments, ideas? Tell me on Facebook!


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