The piano is a wonderful and expressive instrument and for this reason many want to learn to play piano. So if you’re someone who wants to learn to play and know nothing about playing piano here are some basics to help get you started.
First you need to know the notes on a piano keyboard.
A standard piano has 88 keys or notes, although some digital pianos can have fewer such as 76 or 61 keys. That sounds like a lot of notes to learn but in fact there are only 12 notes to learn. I bet you’re relieved to know that!
The 12 notes repeat along the length of the keyboard but each repetition is at a different pitch. For example on the left of the keyboard, the 12 notes are very low in pitch or are known as bass notes. As you move to the right of the keyboard, the sets of twelve notes become progressively higher in pitch. Notes to the right of the keyboard are known as treble notes.
The white notes are named A thru G and the black notes are named as derivatives of the white notes.
An example of this would be C sharp, represented on music scores as C#. This simply means the black note is a raised pitch in relation to the white note C, which is to the left of the black note.
An example of an alternative name that can be used might be B flat shown on music scores as Bb. In this case the black note is lower in pitch to the white note B, which is to the right of the black note.
Here is a keyboard diagram to clarify the names of the twelve notes.
OK, so that’s not too difficult. You only have to learn the names of 7 notes (A thru G) and you can work out the names of the black notes that sit to the right or left of a white note. Much better than having to learn the names of 88 notes!
The way to identify notes is by recognising that the black notes occur in a group of two followed by a group of three. By recognising this pattern you can always locate the note of C, which is to the left of the two black notes.
From this you will learn the location of all the other notes. When you first start you will have to work out which note is which, but after a while this will become second nature to you and you will be able to identify notes on a piano wherever they appear on the keyboard.
Now you know the notes, it’s time to learn some chords.
A chord is simply a number of notes played simultaneously rather than separately. If you played the white notes C, E and G at the same time you would have played the chord of C. The chord takes the name of the lower note, which is known as the root note of the chord.
Here are examples of three more popular chords:
Chord A minor (don’t worry about what minor means for now)
With just these four chords you will be able to play a basic version of songs such as:
Blue Moon, All I Have to do is Dream, Red Red Wine and many more.
When you first start you may find that your fingers feel stiff and awkward when you play, but don’t worry, this is normal and the more you play the more normal it will feel to you. Your fingers will gradually become more flexible and used to the strange positions they take when playing the notes.
This has been just a quick guide to help you make a start learning piano. By learning the notes and some basic chords you will be taking your first steps towards learning to play piano. I hope this has been helpful to you and that you will go on to find a piano teacher or buy a piano tutorial course that will help you develop your skill. There is nothing quite like playing great music on a piano.
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