Keyboard Structure > Easy Piano by Ear

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Keyboard Structure

Keyboards come in several optional sizes. A full keyboard consists of 88 keys and can be as minimal as 49 keys and fewer. So let’s talk about keyboard structure. At first glance at a keyboard all you see is an awfull lot of keys and worse yet…they all look the same! How do you ever find your way around all those keys!! All keyboards regardless of size have the same keyboard structure, I’m referring to the arrangement of alternating white and black keys. The black keys repeat in a pattern of 2 black keys, then 3 black keys, 2 then 3,  covering the whole keyboard regardless of the number of keys or size of the keyboard. The lower end of the keyboard has the low tones and rising as you move to the right ending with the highest on the top end.

If you were to cover the black keys you would notice that all the white keys are identical with no way of differentiating one from another. The black keys are our guides and our markers for finding our way aroound the keyboard and locating and identifying the white keys.

There are in fact only 7 key names to learn, yes, all those keys and only 7 names! With much amusment we call this our “musical alphabet”.  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 over the entire keyboard.

Location of the Keys:
The black keys are the markers we use to locate and identify the white 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 (as the well known song from The Sound of Music tells us) which is 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.

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.

SO, until we talk again, have fun at your keyboard!…..And be sure to check out some of my lessons…..DW

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