If you are starting to learn the piano, it is important to understand the keys and what they are for. One of the most basic things you need to learn as a beginner is the black and white piano keys.
This article aims to provide information about white piano keys as well as give you a quick and easy exercise to help you get used to them.
What Are the White Keys on The Piano?
There are two keys on your piano: the black and the white ones. We’ve already discussed the role of the black piano keys. Now it’s time to delve into the white keys.
You might also be wondering: just how many white keys are there on a piano?
The standard piano (1) has 88 keys and 52 of these are white piano keys. These white keys are also known as natural keys or white notes.
Take a look at how the keys are grouped on a piano:
As you can see, piano keys are grouped into 12s. Each group is composed of 7 white keys for the 7 natural notes of the C major scale and 5 black keys grouped in 2s and 3s for the sharps and flats.
Now, try to find the Middle C on your keyboard. If you have an 88-key keyboard or piano, it should be the 24th key from left to right or the 4th C. To help you find it, I marked it with a red star on my piano. Take a look:
Put your index finger on the Middle C key. Doing this will make it easier for you to play the notes above Middle C.
Try doing it with your left hand. Put your left index finger on Middle C. You will notice that by placing your index finger there, it is easier to play the white piano keys below Middle C.
Looking closely at the piano, you will notice that the same pattern is repeated: two black keys framed by 3 white keys and then 3 black keys framed by 4 white keys.
The 3 white keys surrounding the first 2 black keys are C, D, and E. On the other hand, the 4 white keys surrounding 3 black keys are F, G, A, and B. If you look at the image above, you will notice that the eight key brings you back to C.
Remember Do-Re-Mi? It goes Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti and then back to Do. This is the same as the keys on the piano. It starts from C and then goes to D, E, F, G, A, B, and then back to C. This is called an octave.
The same pattern repeats throughout the entire piano. This means that once you have memorized these 12 keys, you have memorized them all!
Piano Key Notes: Your First Melody
Now we are going to do a quick and easy exercise to help you get used to the white keys on the piano. For this, we will be playing a simple melody.
First, find the Middle C on your keyboard or piano. In case you do not remember, the Middle C is the 24th white piano key on your 88-key piano. Put the thumb of your right hand on the Middle C and the rest of your fingers on the keys after.
Now that your hand is in position. Try playing the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Make sure to use only your right hand! Press the following keys:
Try to figure out the rest of the song. Do not worry, it is still within this octave!
Now, let us repeat this exercise but this time, instead of using your right hand, use your left! Put your left thumb on Middle C again. The white keys on the octave below the Middle C are B, A, G, F, E, D, and then C. Try playing this scale too but remember, you will have to move your wrist to get to the next C.
For the final step of our exercise, let us try playing the last part of “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. Remember to use the fingers of your left hand this time! Put your left pinky finger on Middle C. If you remember, this is the same place your thumb was placed when we did the right-hand exercise. Now try playing the following notes:
Try to use only your left pinky, left ring finger, and left middle finger as these are the only ones that need to move.
There you have it, a short and easy exercise as well as your very first melody. Pretty easy, right? Remember to keep practicing until you get used to the white piano keys.
What Are the White Piano Keys Called?
Now that you know what the white piano keys are for and what the corresponding notes for each of them are, it is time to make use of that information! But remember that the first white key and the last white key in each octave is always going to be C wherever you are on the piano.
Just in case you need a quick recap of our short lesson, here is what we have learned so far:
On the 24th key from left to right of an 88-key piano, lies the Middle C. This is also the fourth C on the piano.
An Octave Up
The group of 8 notes from C to C is called an octave. From Middle C, the set of white keys above it are D, E, F, G, A, B. The next key lands you back on another C.
An Octave Down
Going down from Middle C, the set of white keys are B, A, G, F, E, and D. Playing an octave down will land you back on C.
What is Between C and C
If you play an octave above or below Middle C, you would have already played a scale! The octave from Middle C is the C Major Scale.
Now that you know the purpose of the white keys on your keyboard, you can then continue to learn the black keys on your piano, as well as songs you can play as a beginner. For a more in-depth lesson in playing the piano, check out this list at www.soundfro.com.
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