Introduction to the Piano
The piano keyboard is made up of a series of black keys and white keys. Thirty-six keys are black and fifty-two keys are white. The black keys are grouped in a series of two black keys and three black keys. There are seven groups of two black keys and seven groups of three white keys. There is also one extra black key. The total number of keys on the keyboard is eighty-eight.
A trademark marks the center of the piano keyboard. This is the name of the company that manufactured the piano. The trademark is found at the center of the cabinet covering the keyboard. Below the trademark is a group of two black keys. The white key immediately to the left of the two black keys under the trademark is Middle C. Middle C is the center of the piano keyboard. It separates the keyboard’s upper and lower portions.
The upper portion of the keyboard is called the treble clef. The lower portion of the keyboard is called the bass (pronounced base) clef. Middle C is the only key contained in both the treble and bass clefs.
The keys on the keyboard are called tones. The sound one tone makes is called a pitch. Tones in the treble clef sound higher than tones in the base clef. Treble clef tones are the high pitches. Bass clef tones are the low pitches.
As a musician plays to the right on the keyboard, the pitches become higher. As the musician plays to the left on the keyboard the pitches become lower. Movement to the right on the keyboard is called playing up the keyboard. Movement to the left on the keyboard is playing down the keyboard.
Seven letters of the alphabet are used to identify the tones on the keyboard. These letters are the first seven letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. They are called the musical alphabet. As the musician plays up the keyboard, the letters move forward. As the musician plays down the keyboard, the letters move backward.