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Lesson 5 – Playing songs with letter notes.

Beginner’s guide to keyboards!

Alright! We’ve covered quite a lot of stuff so far, so now we can try to use our knowledge and learn a couple example songs from our site! I think that the “Happy Birthday” song is good for starters.

It’s quite easy and functional, 1 black key and that’s it. So these are the letter notes.

C C D C F E

C C D C G F

C C C A F E D

A# A# A F G F F

The first 2 lines are actually variations. Only last 2 notes in those lines differ. Use that to your advantage. Make a short paue after each line to maintain the song’s rhythm.

As you can see, one C is green. That’s because it’s supposed to be played an octave higher as shown on the picture below.

After the “green C”, go back to the lower octave.

The last line might be the trickiest as it has an A# sound. I suggest to let each of your fingers do some work. Play A# with your ring finger, A with your middle finger, F with your thumb and G with the index finger. That’s probably the easiest way.

Let’s move on to a bit trickier example and try playing “Jingle Bells”.

These are the letter notes you need to follow to learn this song.

D-B-A-G-D

D-D-B-A-G-E

E-C-B -A-F#

D-D-C-A-B

D-B-A-G-D

D-D-B-A-G-E

E-C-B-A-B

C-C-C-C-C-B-B

B-B-A-A-G-A-D

B-B-B-B-B-B

B-D-G-A-B

C-C-C-C-C-B-B

D-D-C-A-G

Again, some notes are marked with a different color, meaning that these notes must be played an octave higher.

The chorus part might be a little tricky as the tonation changes a bit and the melody is played in a higher section of the keyboard. But that’s not really a problem. Just remember, that the red notes mean higher octave and that’s it. This time we also have 1 black key, not really a big deal.

Let’s go for a classic rock song now. For this example I chose “We Are The Champions” by Queen.

E G A A

E G B A


E G A A A

E E B A G A

G B C C

G B C C

G B C C D D D D E

E F# F# G A G A G A G A

D C# D C# A F# H F#

A D E F# A F#

B C# B

B A B A G

G F# G F# E

F# D G F# D

G F D G F D

C A D

Again we’ve got a bit of variation going on at the beginning. The closer to chorus, the trickier it gets. There are 2 black keys – C# and F#, so don’t forget those! The red color represents notes from the higher octave. Also remember to make a little pause after most of the lines, just to keep the rhythm of the song.

As you can see, letter notes help you learn songs faster and easier!

To close our guide, we’ve prepared a few exercises to test your knowledge you’ve gained so far.

Exercise 1.

Play the following chords (don’t forget the Major and Minor formulas):

C Maj

F Min

A Min

D Maj

G Min

B Maj

Exercise 2.

Play the following scales (using the Major and Minor formulas):

C Major

D Minor

A Major

B Minor

F# Major

D# Minor

Exercise 3.

Play the following letter notes and guess what songs is this:

1.

D C# B F#

F# F# F# F# F#

B B B B A B G

G G G G G B B B B

C# D A

A A A A A D D D D E E C#

2.

C C D C F E

C C D C G F

C C C A F E D

A# A# A F G F F

3.

D C# D C# A F# B F#

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

B A B A G G F# G F# E

F# D G F# D G F D G F D

C D

That’s it for now, good luck with your practice and make sure to regularly visit our site for new songs to learn!