Keys & Keyboards

Tips and techniques

So, there are 88 keys on a piano.

White and black keys, arranged almost like a zebra crossing.

Near the centre is Middle C - you often start here when learning.

Here's a picture of piano keys, showing the notes they play on written music.

Key names follow the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, then after G you start at A again.

Black keys are named after the white key beside them, plus a sign:

The flat notes are lower (to the left), sharp notes are higher (to the right).

FLAT = LEFT / SHARP = RIGHT !

Here's a keyboard with the black notes showing sharps and flats:

So A-sharp (A#) is the same as B-flat (Bb) - it just depends what key you're in.


How do you know what notes to play?
As we can write or read words in a book, so we can write or read music.

For many years people have used staves, lines and notes like these: C Major Scale

The first oval on the bottom left line is Middle C

In the middle of the picture is another C, an octave higher.

See the movies below for some scales in action, starting with C Major, plus intervals, showing the gaps between notes: