The Best Ever Notes on Basic Piano Layout

Introduction

You may want to give a basic idea of the piano to your child, before he starts proper music lessons. You may also wonder how you could do it because you don’t have a music knowledge!

In this blog, I try to explain in the most simple way about the layout of the piano as well as basic note identification. My aim is to give you an all-round view with necessary information so that you don’t have to search the web and waste your time.

When I mention ‘keyboard’, I refer to the set of black and white keys of a piano, keyboard or any other related instrument.

STEP 1

Let’s look at a piano keyboard layout.

Piano-keyboard layout

 

What you will first notice will be the black keys and the white keys.

Then you will notice that the black keys are placed in a certain pattern: they are in twos and threes. I introduce them as twins and triplets for young children.

You could try “Hot Cross Buns” on a set of three black notes. This example is uploaded by HowToPianoHD’schannelhttp://youtu.be/3pD72KlCGaQ

Now I will help you to identify the white keys and introduce you to some piano basics.

Their names are the first seven letters of the English alphabet: A,B,C,D,F,G.

It is easiest to learn on a 88-key piano because the very first white key, which is the first key from the left, is A.

8 Apps That Teach You How to Play Piano

8 Apps That Teach You How to Play Piano

This is for any device by Apple. The enormity of a 88-key piano can be downloaded. A modern way to learn the piano even on the bus or train. 

The main feature of a keyboard app should be that you should be able to run your fingers on the keys.

I know, you have always wanted to learn the piano but were not interested at the time, too expensive or never had the time.

Now you can do it at your own time without spending any money on lessons. The advancement in technology has brought

Pianist HD; complete piano app for Android

Pianist HD; complete piano app for Android

you the keyboard into your smart phone  or tablet.

Some apps are better than the others because they have instruments to download and instructions on how to play the piano.

www.soundgearguide.com gives you 7 apps that show you how to play piano.  

The Pianist HD is an excellent app where you can have the learn – to-play mode and child mode.

Act Piano: notation, midi, score

Act Piano: notation, midi, score

The main feature of Act Piano is it has a 88-key, keyboard which is a multi touch virtual keyboard; you can scroll it and fully customised. The size of the keys can be adjusted to suit your fingers! Learn about the keyboard and learn to play music too with this.

Piano For You is another versatile app for Android by Google Play. Bright Hub brings you more information on best Android apps for pianists.

Well, back to the notes again. It continues from A after each G. I show the similarity of the 7 days of the week, in a year.

On any keyboard, what I introduce first is the note D. It is the white key between the ‘twins’.

Patterns of black and white keys

Patterns of black and white keys

Then the, very next one after D, is E.

The very next one before, is C.

Just like in the alphabet!

After E is F and the next is G; before C is B and the one before that is A, etc. Two notes that are closest with the same name are an Octave apart.

Be familiar with the musical alphabet, backwards: G,F,E,D,C,B,A

Free and easy online learning tutorial by Mark Andrew Hansen; http://youtu.be/CQTim0KdILE

piano note chart is helpful to get the basics right.

I will do my best to give you all the secrets to understanding the layout for piano keys in this post.

Piano keys for Windows and Mac

STEP 2:

Of course, you have realised that the notes start with a low pitch from the left and gradually increases to the right.

The lowest pitch is the first note in the left and the highest pitch is the last note in the right.

The lower pitch notes are called the Bass and the higher pitch notes are called the Treble.

On a keyboard, you go lower to the left and higher to the right.blog8 piano1

But at which point does the Bass end, and the Treble start? It is at a note that is common to both.

It is called the Middle C

Middle C

Middle C

 

How do we find the Middle C on a keyboard?

Roughly, it is the note C closest to centre of the keyboard.

On a piano, it is the closest C to the key hole.

On any other keyboard, it is the C that is under the maker’s name.

The Importance of Middle C, uploaded by musictheoryguy; http://youtu.be/I39Poqbu3Ik 

blog 8 bass clefL

Bass Clef

So, all the notes that are on the left of the Middle C belong to the Bass Clef. 

What else would you conclude with this?

That, when you start from the lowest note in the base clef and go up to Middle C, you realise that Middle C is the highest note in the bass clef.

And all the notes that are on the right of the Middle C belong to the Treble Clef.

Treble Clef

Treble Clef.

And the same way, you will realise that, when you start at the highest note in the treble clef and come down to Middle C, that it is the lowest note in the treble clef.

STEP 3

How do you know to sort these notes out in a music book?

Help Me Learn Music which comes as an ebook and a paperback is an excellent book to learn this.

Notes are written on five lines and four spaces, which is called the staff or stave.

Notes in the Bass Clef and the Treble Clef

Notes in the Bass Clef and the Treble Clef

 

blog 8 Grand_staff

Grand Stave (Staff)

When the bass clef and the treble clef lines and spaces are placed together, it is called the Grand Stave or Grand Staff.

On the Grand Stave, 18 + 3 notes are written. Others are written below and above it. The 3 separate notes are B (bass clef), Middle C and D (treble clef) are in the window; in the space between the lines and the spaces of both clefs.

Let’s first take a look at the notes in the treble clef and learn the notes as we go.

Notes in the Treble Clef

Notes in the Treble Clef

 

These are the notes on the lines

 

These are the notes in the spaces

 

 

Here is an easy way to remember the notes on the line in the treble clef:

Every  Good  Boy  Deserves  Fruit!

Anyone will remember the notes in the spaces: F A C E

Now, the notes in the bass clef:

Notes in the Bass Clef

Notes in the Bass Clef

 

These are the notes on the lines

 

These are the notes in the spaces

 

 

Here is an easy way to remember the notes on the lines in the bass clef:

Good Boys Don’t Fight At all!

And the spaces: 

All Cows Eat Grass

Stick a poster on your wall or have it saved in your computer which will be handy to glance at.  And more information on treble and bass clef notes.

blog 8 APCRAWLR

Trebel Clef Kids by APCRAWLR; for any device

(i) Here is a good video tutorial uploaded by Jan Durrent: http://youtu.be/9j80zrahTcg 

(ii) Another video tutorial for piano notes explained in a simple way uploaded buy piano motherhttp://youtu.be/Dl9j1JEkA7g

(iii) This one uploaded by Plank Road Publishing is good for the little ones; http://youtu.be/0XnG675l84U

Music Notes Games  for Android by Google Play

Music Notes Games for Android by Google Play

STEP 4

When we hear a musical piece, we hear two aspects of it: melody and harmony. The melody is the tune of course and harmony is two notes played together at the same time.

To understand harmony, you must know the relationship between the white keys and the black keys.

The keyboard is made of a series of keys placed in semitones. 

The notes on a keyboard are separated by semitones (half steps).  

What is a semitone? It is the shortest distance between two notes.

When two notes are a semitone apart, they do not have a note in between them.

Basics of the Piano (keyboard)

Basics of the Piano (keyboard)

I will try to explain it.

E to F, and B to C are semitones.

There are 12 semitones in an octave.

Two semitones make a tone (whole step).

C to D is a tone. It is twice the distance as B to C.

You will be able to understand it better with Piano Tones and Semitones uploaded by Justin Florisson; http://youtu.be/vsgutcgmUMQ

Piano Key Chart

Piano Key Chart

Understanding the Semitone and the Whole tone will give you a better idea about the layout of the keyboard; see below.

Semitones and Whole tones

Semitones and Whole tones

Here is another way shown by http://his-musicclass.blogspot.co.nz

semitones and tones

semitones and tones

Understanding Tones and Semitones in Music-3 uploaded by patdavidmusic; http://youtu.be/vyi9ZiHkfrM

Now that you have a fair idea about the semitones, let’s see how they are named.

image from https://themusicworkshop.com

You know that white keys are named from A to G. But how do we name the black keys?    

To be able to understand that, you must know what sharps, flats and naturals are. 

Here’s a video uploaded by MusicFraser; http://youtu.be/BTEmb3zRF-k which explains it well.

When a note is not raised or lowered, it is at its natural state. Then it is natural.

Watch this video, Sharps and Flats Explained, uploaded by WaitRibeiro; http://youtu.be/jes21ShN55E

When a note is raised by a semitone, then it is sharped; eg. Raise the note F by a semitone and it becomes F sharp. A sharp is towards the right of the keyboard; to the right the notes go higher,

blog 8  semitones sharp

image from https://themusicworkshop.com

Sharps

Sharps and printable work sheets

There are online music lessons to reinforce your knowledge and be rid of any doubts.

Pitch:  Sharps, Flats and Natural notes

Pitch: Sharps, Flats and Natural notes

blog 8 semitones flat

image from https://themusicworkshop.com

When a note is lowered by a semitone, then it becomes a flat ; e.g. Lower the note B by a semitone and it becomes B flat. The notes go towards the left of the keyboard which is lower.   

Flats

Flats

Here is another way for you to follow: Sharp and Flat Keys uploaded by riffeo01 ; http://youtu.be/Gb3ctHsaWCI 

Now you would have realised that these notes can have two names depending on whether they are raised or lowered.

So, G sharp = A flat; C sharp = D flat etc

How would you know when it is called a G sharp and when it is called an A flat?

Enharmonic Equivalent : A note which has two different letter names. A musical way of saying is, G sharp is the enharmonic equivalent of A flat.

The enharmonic equivalent of D flat is C sharp, etc.

The image below explains well.

Enharmonics

Enharmonic Equivalents

 

Chromatic Interval: when we name notes C, C sharp, D, D sharp, E, E sharp etc, or, B, B flat, A , A flat, G, G flat etc, the note raised or lowered note retains the same name as the natural note.

The semitone between two such notes is called a Chromatic Interval.

Diatonic Interval: Instead of saying C sharp, if we say D flat, then the semitone is a Diatonic Interval. e.g.; C, D flat, D, E flat, E, F, etc.

Let’s look at some video example as that is the best way to understand it.

(i) Music Theory: Diatonic Half Step uploaded by Glory St. Germain; http://bit.ly/1tOvB5n

(ii) Basic Theory, uploaded by Ida Campana; http://youtu.be/tl6qj1MLyZI

(iii) Tones and Semitones uploaded by Dave Fonservatoire; http://youtu.be/hPou3ube_Rg 

Another way of explaining by music4vip: 

Chromatic and Diatonic Semitones

Learn it at your convenience; download it to your iPad.

Piano Tutor for iPad (iOS) APPCRAWLR

Hope I have given you a fair idea of the basic layout of the piano. I took different examples in order to have a choice for you.

And this is my advice to you!

 

Neverblog 8 B flat1S

Sometimesblog 8 B sharp2

Alwaysblog 8 B nat col2

 

Have I given you a general idea of the keyboard? Or have I missed anything? Let me know of your concerns.