The Beginner’s Guide to Piano Keyboard Layout

There is nothing special about the piano keyboard, right? Black and white keys, that’s all we get. The thing is, there are too many of the black and white to keep track of, and the pattern just doesn’t make it any better. Anyone trying to learn these keys for the first time would be intimidated.

Well, no worries, let’s clear things up.

88 keys might look intimidating, but don’t let this number fool you. Piano keys are much less complicated than they look. The first thing to note is that there are only 12 different keys on the keyboard. Yes, that’s right, 12. Isn’t it amazing that all the different music genres, jazz, classical music, and even rock, come from only these 12 notes?

Alright, let’s backtrack a little and look at the different piano categories. There are two general categories of pianos, as you will learn in keyboard lessons online: vertical and grand pianos. The vertical pianos are what you get in homes and churches as they are smaller, and they can easily fit into tight spaces. They come in ranging sizes depending on the use, and these include console, spinet, and studio. Spinets are the smallest of the three and the most common, while studio pianos are the biggest. Digital pianos, also known as keyboards, are now a thing too, and many families prefer them.

Now back to the keyboard layout. So how do these 12 notes add up to 88 keys? As you take keyboard lessons online, you will find it is very simple. These 12 notes make a pattern that repeats itself across the keyboard. Therefore, the easiest way to learn the layout of the keyboard is to learn this pattern and be able to tell where it starts and ends. That’s it.

Now to the keys. There are 36 black keys that are raised and set farther back than the 52 white keys. The blacks are in groups of twos and threes and are sharps and flats of the white keys. The white keys symbolize the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. A great way of mastering the pattern is thinking of the twos as chopsticks and the threes as a fork. The chopsticks start with a C key while the fork starts with an F, smart right? The note C is to the left of the two black keys, and note F to the left of the three.

From C, you have the notes D, E, F, and G. G gets you back to the beginning of the alphabet, so think of ‘Go’ when you get to note G. Now, the black keys are identified according to the closest white key, but a sharp or flat is added to the name for example C sharp or F flat. Sharp is used when the black key is to the right of the white key, while flat when the black key is to the left.

Another thing to note is that as you go to the right of the keyboard from the middle, you will be playing higher notes, and the lower notes are to the left. To best remember this, think of the right hand as playing higher notes while the left, lower.

Comments are closed