Piano Key Notes For Beginners – How To Label The Keys Of The Piano

Piano key notes for beginners! In this piano lesson, you will learn how to label the keys of the piano. The following is a transcript of a video lesson I created. It includes minor edits. The video is embedded below.

Hi once again, it’s Mantius Cazaubon and I’m the creator of the website, Piano-Keyboard-Guide.com. Today I’d like to talk to you about labeling the keys of the piano keyboard. Now, I have no keyboard with me right now; I am in my car, but I figured why not present a lesson that is different. We’ve looked at this topic many times, but some beginners still need extra work. So let’s learn how to label the keys of the piano keyboard. Let’s take another look at this topic.

If you don’t have a keyboard with you right now, it’s a good way to do some mental work. It’s always good to think of your keyboard or piano when you’re away from it, whether it’s the notes that correspond to the keys of your keyboard, chords or whatever you’re learning. Mental work is always good. So let’s do some with regards to labeling the keys of the keyboard.

Video: How To Label The Keys Of The Piano (Piano Key Notes For Beginners)

 

If you take a look at your piano keyboard, you will notice that the keys are black and white. This is quite obvious. But what key is A? What key is B? What keys are C, D, E, F and G? First of all, the letters of the musical alphabet are A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Only seven letters! With these letters we will label the keys of the piano?

So where is A? Where is B? Where is C? Where is D… E, F and G?

Location Of C

Let’s first of all learn where C is. If you look at the keys of the piano, as we said, you will realize that they are black and white. We will start with C, and with C, you will learn how to label every key. Just by using C! If you look at your keyboard, you will notice that there’s a set of two black keys, followed by three black keys, followed by two black keys, followed by three black keys and this two-three keys pattern keeps repeating. The key before a set of two black keys is C.

Now that you know where C is, you could basically label all the white keys. If you know your alphabet as you obviously do, you know that after C comes D. So the white key after C is D. The white key after D is E. Then F. Then G. The white key after G is A, then B, and you go back to C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C and so on. It keeps repeating. So you now know how to label all the white keys. Clearly, the key before C is B, the key before B is A and the key before A is G; there is no H in music. It’s as simple as that.

Piano keys and notes layout

Piano keys and notes layout

Location Of F (How To Label The Keys Of The Piano – Piano Key Notes For Beginners)

Another way to label the white keys is to know where F is. Remember we said that there’s a set of two and three black keys. F is before a set of three black keys. If you have your keyboard with you, or if you’re at your piano, take a look at the set of three black keys and notice where F is. You may also take a look at the diagram I’ve included on this page. So what is the letter after F in the alphabet? Obviously, it’s G. What is the letter after G in the alphabet? In the regular alphabet it’s H but there is no H in the musical alphabet. After G you go back to A. So if you go up the keyboard, it’s F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F and so on. If you know where F is, you know how to label all the white keys. All you need to know is where F is. Or all you need to know is where C is, as we saw earlier. Learn the names of the notes that correspond to the white keys mentally, when you’re away from your keyboard. Commit it to memory. You should also practice this by looking at your piano keyboard.

How To Label The Black Keys Of The Piano Keyboard

So you know how to label the white keys. How about the black ones? In music, there are “sharps” and “flats”. “#” stands for sharp and “b” stands for flat. I’m going to put this in very simple terms for the beginner.

On your keyboard, sharp simply means to play the key that is to the immediate right. So if you’re on C, there’s a note called C sharp (C#) which is the black key after C. The key immediately after D is D sharp (D#). The white key after D sharp is E. After E there’s the white key, F. The black key after F is F sharp (F#). The key after F# is G. The key after G is G#, then A. The black key after A is A#. We’re moving right on the keyboard. After A#, you go to B, then C. Then C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B and C. You should know what notes correspond to the keys mentally, without looking at your keyboard. You should have a clear picture in your mind. Work on it.

So we just looked at the sharps. The two keys in the set of two black keys are C# followed by D#. In the set of three black keys, it’s F# followed by G# and A#. So as you move right on your keyboard (as you go up the keyboard), you have sharps. But when we go down (move left), we have flats. The black keys have two note names. If you’re on D, the key before D is D flat (Db). The black key before E is Eb. If you’re on a key and you play the key to the left, you’re going flat. If you’re on G and you then play the key to the immediate left of G, you’re playing G flat. If you’re on A and you’re asked to play the key to the left of A, you’re playing A flat. The key before B is B flat.

This is a simplified way of looking at flats on your piano keyboard. What you’re actually doing is going down a half step (or semitone) on your keyboard and this makes the note flat. For example, if you’re on B, the note before it is Bb because you went down a half step (semitone). On the other hand, if you go up a half step (or semitone) on your keyboard, for example, C to C#, it makes the note sharp. So sharp indicates that you should go up a half step, while flat indicates that you should go down a half step.

So in terms of flats, the five black keys are Db (which is immediately after C or before D), followed by Eb, Gb, Ab and Bb.

The 12 keys of the Piano Keyboard and their Note Names

Remember that the piano keyboard consists of sets of two and three black keys. There are 7 white keys that repeat, giving you a total of 12 keys repeating over and over depending on how many keys your keyboard has in total. Let’s say we start with C (before a set of 2 black keys). This would give you C, followed by C# or Db, D, D# or Eb, E, F, F# or Gb, G, G# or Ab, A, A# or Bb, B and C. The keys of the piano or keyboard!

One more thing. The white keys can also be sharp or flat. Remember that, simply put, on your keyboard, the word, sharp or the symbol, # tells you to play the key to the right of a key, while flat tells you to play the key to the immediate left. Therefore, the key after E can also be called E#. We saw that it was F earlier but it can also be called E#. Why? Because you’re playing the key to the right of E. It’s a half step higher than E. There’s B# as well which is the key to the immediate right of B. So the key that plays C can also play B#. B# and C are enharmonic equivalents of each other. There’s Cb as well, which is a half step lower than C and this key also plays the note, B. There’s also Fb which is a half step lower than F and also plays the note, E. So there’s B#, Cb, E# and Fb and they are played with white keys.

I trust that you now know how to label the keys of the piano keyboard. Go here to learn more about piano keys and notes. 

Thank you very much. My name is Mantius Cazaubon. I am the creator of Piano-Keyboard-Guide.com. For a lot more, be sure to check out my books at Amazon.com. They will take you to the next level in playing the piano. Thank you very much, one love, all the best.

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