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Notes on Piano: This is Where You Begin

Learn to play Piano Notes

Learn the Notes on piano! Here is a guide to help you learn to recognize & play the various piano notes. In this lesson, we will start with the basics of piano notation, and that would mean learning the names of the various black and white notes on a piano.

Before that, one thing that you need to bear in mind is that the piano notes and the electronic keyboard notes are arranged in the same way. Though the touch and feel of the keys are different on the two instruments, the notes will be called by the same name on both the instruments.

Teaching Little Fingers to Play: For the Earliest Beginner and Kids

Piano For Dummies: For adult beginners

How to Play Piano Despite Years of Lessons: For the intermediate level piano keyboard player.

Different Notes

If you closely observe the layout of the keys, you will notice that there are actually twelve different keys or piano notes – 7 white and 5 black keys. The same set of keys is then repeated throughout the instrument, from the left to the extreme right. Even within this group of 12 notes, the 7 white notes are the ones that are named, whereas the black notes are derived from the names of the white keys.

Piano Notes

Piano Learning Software Review

So to summarize, the notes on a Piano/Keyboard notes are named as follows.

The 7 white keys are identified as C, D, E, F, G, A, B

The 5 black keys derive their names from the white keys, depending on whether the black key is to the left or right of the white key.

You need to be aware of this repeating pattern if you want to learn the piano notes quickly. This is because at first look it seems the piano has numerous notes that need to be learnt but the fact is it is just a handful of notes that gets repeated.


What about the black keys? How do you identify them? The black keys are identified by placing symbols called “accidentals” next to the name of the note. For instance, the black key to the right of G would be called as G# or G Sharp. “Sharp” indicates it is to the right of the white key. A black key to the left of B would be called as Bb or B Flat. “Flat” indicates it is to the left of the white key. The symbols “#” and “b” are known as accidentals, I have discussed it in detail on a separate page.

There are a lot of students, taking piano lessons, who get frustrated with their progress. One reason for that could be because the style of teaching doesn’t suit them. It’s important that the piano lessons be as uncomplicated as possible. The piano lessons software or book should give you a feeling that things are easier to learn and you should feel that you are making some real progress.

Notation in other regions

Traditionally the seven music notes have always been named using alphabets but some regions do have their own ways of naming these seven notes. A few examples have been listed here.

European Style – Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si

Indian Style – Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni

As you can see there are still seven basic notes, irrespective of whatever style it is. The European style, also known as Solfege is used mostly for sight-singing.

The Indian style of denoting the notes on piano is used for both singing as well as for playing musical instruments.


The distance from one note to the same note, above or below it, is known as an Octave; this is true for any of the 12 notes. For instance the distance from the note “C” to the next “C” is one Octave.

You need to be aware that the various notes are basically sound waves having different frequencies and certain notes sound similar when their frequencies are in multiples of each other. Notes on a piano that are octaves apart have this property, and that is the reason the set of notes which we discussed above, keeps on repeating itself.

One C-to-C octave includes one set of 7 white notes and 5 black keys, so you may also call this set of notes as one octave. This will help you to know what size a keyboard is, since they come in various sizes. An octave has twelve notes, so a 61 keys keyboard will have 5 octaves (actually it has one more key but you can ignore that) and that is why it is also referred to as a 5-Octave keyboard. A Piano on the other hand has 7 and half octaves.


Learning to recognise the seven white notes and the five black notes on a piano keyboard is not that difficult. Once you know what they are called, you won’t forget their names. The next step for you is to use the correct fingering. You need to learn how to play the various keyboard/piano notes with the correct fingers, a fundamental step in piano technique. And just knowing the notes is half the job. You should also be able to recognise the piano keyboard notes in the written form. And if you are going to use a piano learning software, ensure you go with the one that is more interactive. A good piano learning software structures the lessons in such a way, that you see some real progress and also sound well while playing them. Correct fingering, along with the ability to read the piano notes from sheet music forms the basics of piano learning.

Here are some good piano books that can also help you to get started. Teaching Little Fingers to Play for the earliest beginner and kids. Piano For Dummies for adult beginners and how to play piano despite years of lessons for the intermediate level piano keyboard player.

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