Keyboard Structure > Easy Piano by Ear

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Keyboard Structure

Let’s discuss keyboard structure for a moment. Keyboards come in several optional sizes. A full keyboard consists of 88 keys and can be as minimal as 49 keys and fewer. All keyboards regardless of size have the same keyboard structure, an arrangement of alternating white and black keys. Black keys repeat in a pattern of 2, then 3, 2 then 3.

The black keys are the markers we use to locate and identify the white keys. There are in fact only 7 key names to learn. The musical alphabet is : A,B,C,D,E,F,G. We’ll just deal with the white keys for now, A to G. (and then the names repeat throughout the entire length of the keyboard).

Location of the Keys:
C,D,E, are the 3 keys surrounding the 2 black keys (reading left to right)- followed by F,G,A,B grouped around the 3 black keys which brings us back to C (the white key to the left of the 2 black keys). This succession of 8 keys is repeated over the entire keyboard… all we ever need to know  is just these 7 key names.

An Octave: The distance from one C to the next C higher (or lower) is called an octave. D to D is an octave. E to E is an octave  and so on.

The Treble Clef and Staff:

The image (written capital S backwards) shown in the link above is called a treble clef, also called the G clef because it winds itself around the line on which the note G is writen.  The treble clef indicates notes above middle C.  The staff is the lines and spaces the notes are written on. The drawing above shows the treble clef and the staff  with the associated note, letter name and key location. The note with the line drawn through it is middle C. The notes are drawn as whole notes.

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