Notes on Piano – The basics of Piano Keyboard Layout / Lessons

Notes on Piano: If you are new to piano or keyboard playing, here is your first lesson in Piano keyboard learning, the layout of a piano.

So you are new to the Piano / Keyboard?

Want to know how the notes are named on a Electric Piano / Keyboard?

On this page, I will give you a brief overview of what the various notes are on a Piano. What's the Piano keyboard layout!!

Piano notes vs. Keyboard notes - Please keep in mind that the notes on Piano and electronic Keyboards are arranged in the same way. Though they may be made from different materials and the touch may feel different, the notes are identified by the same name on both a Piano and a Keyboard.

Notes on Piano Layout

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12 Different Notes - If you carefully observe the layout of the piano keys, you will notice that there are basically 12 different keys or notes - 7 white and 5 black keys. The same group of keys then keeps on repeating itself.

The Piano notes/Keyboard notes are named as follows.
The 7 white keys are identified as C, D, E, F, G, A, B
The 5 black keys derive their names from the white keys, depending on whether the black key is to the left or right of the white key.

Examples - Piano Keyboard Layout/Learning
A black key to the right of C would be called as C# or C Sharp. "Sharp" means it is to the right of the white key.
A black key to the left of E would be called as Eb or E Flat. "Flat" means it is to the left of the white key.

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So what is an octave? In musical terms, it purely means the distance from one note to the same note which comes immediately higher or lower. Basically from a C to the next C that comes lower or higher. It doesn't have to be C, it can be any note.

To put it in a slightly technical or scientific term, an octave is defined as the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. And between these two notes, you have the 12 semitones that make up an octave.

Coming to the number of keys, all the Pianos have 88 keys. Keyboards on the other hand can contain lesser number of keys; you get either 61 keys or 76 keys. One group of 7 white notes and 5 black keys is known as one octave and the same set of notes gets repeated in the other octaves. So a 61 keys keyboard can also be referred to as a 5-Octave keyboard (the one extra key is ignored). A Piano on the other hand would have 7 and half octaves.

Song Notes on LCD Display

Most of the digital piano keyboard nowadays displays the piano keyboard notes of the built-in songs on the LCD display. So if you know the piano keyboard layout, you can understand what notes are to be played. With a few lessons under your belt, you should be able to play the built-in songs by yourself.


I have tried to give you a brief overview of the layout/notes on a piano keyboard. Remember that there are seven basic notes, and the five black notes are their accidentals (derived from the names of the white keys). These 12 notes get repeated across the various octaves. Remember that the most widely used piano keyboards come in 61 keys (5 octaves - Casio CTK, Yamaha PSR models), 76 (6 and half octaves - Casio WK series) and 88 keys (7 and half octaves - DGX, YPG, Privia series).

Basic understanding of fingering as well as the ability to recognise these notes in printed music forms the first steps in learning to play the piano. I hope this understanding of piano keyboard layout/notes encourages you to take the next step towards learning the Piano.

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