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The traditional method of learning piano often begins with sight reading first.
It’s the process which involves active learning activities: Before actually playing on the piano keyboard, the learners must first use their eyes to read the musical notes on the sheet music and deploy left-brained functions to analyze the pitches, rhythms, and dynamics of a piece.
As the results, sight reading brings learners many benefits: Developing left-brained functions, and academic intelligence, increasing speed reading, forming self-disciplined, etc.
Despite the many advantages of sight reading, most beginners often get bored, demotivated, and drop, since it requires lots of effort and labor. And it isn’t a good way to get started with the piano.
I believe that learning piano should be fun and interesting. By knowing letter notes on the piano alone, you’ll be able to play a song immediately without long hours of reading sheet music.
Let’s get started.
The Structure Of A Piano Keyboard
Keyboards come with many types of key numbers. Most common are 61-key keyboard, 44-key, 76-key, and 88-key.
And a standard piano keyboard has 88 keys in total which are divided into 7 octaves.
Let assume that we’re using the 88-key standard piano keyboard.
In our letter notes tutorials, the keys on the 4th octave are green highlighted: C D E F G A B
And here is the summary of how each key are highlighted:
3rd octave’s keys: C D E F G A B
2nd octave’s keys: C D E F G A B
4th octave’s keys: C D E F G A B
5th octave’s keys: C D E F G A B
You’ll soon know what is C D E F G A B in the next part!
7 Letter Notes And Their Corresponding Keys
We use the first 7 letters of the alphabet to name 7 notes, they are:
A B C D E F G
And the diagram below shows you how these letters are matched with piano keys:
As you can see, an octave consists of 7 white keys and 5 black keys. These keys are divided into 2 group:
The “Chopstick” group is on the left side, which has 2 black keys and 3 white keys
The “Fork” group is on the right side, which has 3 black keys and 4 white keys
Now, the first letter of “Chopstick” is C, then the first white key of the “Chopstick” group (counted from the left) is C.
Similarly, the first letter of “Fork” is F, so the first white key of the “Fork” group (also counted from the left) is F.
To read other keys, just counted from F key or C key the order of the alphabet:
Order #1 (count from F): F G A B C D E
Order #2 (count from C): C D E F G A B
For me, I found that the easiest is to remember the order #2 since it also the key order of an octave.
That’s it. I bet now you can read the letter notes of white keys with ease.
To learn how to read the black keys, check out this article.
And to learn deeply about how to read piano notes and keys with both right-brained and left-brained approach, click here to visit the visual guide from sublimelody.
1. How to sit when you’re playing on piano keyboard.