The white keys on a piano are called the natural notes. Each natural note correspond to a letter. These letters are called musical alphabet: C – D – E – F – G – A – B. We use the seven letter alphabet to name the musical notes.
The musical note names of the white keys are: C – D – E – F – G – A – B.
Sharps and Flats
The black keys can be referred to as either sharps or flats. Sharps and flats are also called accidentals. There are five different types of accidentals: natural, sharp, flat, double flat, and double sharp.
Accidentals are symbols used to raise or lower notes by half steps. A half step is the distance between two adjacent keys on the piano.
A Sharp ( ♯ ) is an accidental that raises a note by a half step.
A Flat ( ♭ ) is an accidental that lowers a note by a half step.
A Natural (♮) is an accidental which cancels out any previous accidentals.
Check out Sharps and Flats – Steps and Accidentals and learn the musical note names of the black keys.
The Middle C Note
There are twelve notes in each octave: 7 white keys and 5 black keys. Next octave starts at C again and repeats the note names: D – E – F – G – A – B.
A standard 88-key piano has slightly more than 7 octaves, with 3 notes in the 0 octave, and 1 note in the 8th octave.
The Middle C Note on a Piano Keyboard
Let’s locate the middle C note on this 88-key piano keyboard:
The middle C is the 4th C note. The middle C note is a musical note not exactly in the middle, but the closest C to the middle of the piano. Because the middle C is located in the 4th octave, it is sometimes referred to as C4.
Now that you know where the middle C note is, let’s get familiar with the staff & clefs and learn to how to read and write music.