KEYS ON THE PIANO: How To Identify Them

distinguish the keys on the piano
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Looking to learn the keys on the Piano? Great, buckle in and come along for the ride!

When first sitting down to play the piano and looking across the board you’ll see a load of keys. 

At first this can be daunting and a lot of the time people think they have to remember each on individually. Thankfully for us that’s just not the case and it’s much easier to digest than first thought.

In this article we’re going to cover everything you need to know in order to get to grips with those keys on the piano & get you well on your way to playing scales.

HOW MANY KEYS ON THE PIANO?

Most piano keyboards come shipped with a total of 88 keys, 52 of which are white keys and 36 black. In this range of 88 keys, the board contains a whopping 7 octaves and a minor 3rd which sit between A0 and C8.

Each of these keys on the piano signify different notes and there are 12 notes between each octave.

THE KEYS ON THE PIANO: Black Notes

Firstly it’s good for us to get to grips with the black keys on the piano, because they can act as somewhat landmarks to find other white keys more easily. If you look across the piano you’ll notice that the black keys always appear in groups of 2 or 3.

These groups of 2 or 3 are commonly known as Chopsticks (1) and Forks (3).

groups of 2 of 3 notes black keys on the piano

Like we said above, you can actually use these keys to help distinguish white notes on the piano.

You’ll notice that next to the first set of black keys (chopsticks), there will be a C note (to the left) and an E note (to the right. When we look at the set of 3 notes (the forks) we can also spot an F note (to the left) and a B note (to the right).

groups of 2 of 3 black notes with labels piano

THE KEYS ON THE PIANO: White Notes

Now we’ve got the black keys out the way, we need to know what the white keys are. White keys on piano are known as what is called a natural note – ♮. Simply because they are notes in their natural position (more on that below).

Anyway…

If we use the black keys we learned about above, we can find the first note in our octave, which is C. An octave starts at the note to the left of the set of chopsticks or set of 2 black notes and its note value rises alphabetically until it arrives at G.

For example:

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

When you arrive at G, you’ll need go back to the start of the alphabet and continue from there.

Now you know all 52 of the white keys.

all keys on the piano 2 octaves

THE KEYS ON THE PIANO: Sharps & Flats

As shown above, the seven notes from C to B represent the white keys. So what do we call the black keys?

Each black key can be called either:

Sharp (♯) – the name used for a black key to the right of a white key.

OR

Flat (♭) – the name used for a black key to the left of the white key.

(this is why the white notes are called naturals ♮)

You’ll also have some instances of notes on white keys that can be named sharp or flat. If we take a look at the notes E and F, we can see there are no black keys inbetween them. That means that if we go 1 to the right (from E), we could also name F, E# and vice versa.

Now you’ve successfully learned all the white keys on the piano, so give yourself a pat on the back!

Then…

Further your knowledge with some of our other tutorials on whipped cream. Also be sure to comment below if you have any troubles, we’re here to help 🙂

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