"Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place to start.
When we read we begin with A, B, C."
Does anyone recognize those words? They're from "The Sound of Music", and are words to a song that Maria von Trapp sang to a group of children that she was caring for, as she was teaching them music.
If you can remember when you first began to read words and books, you learned the alphabet by starting at the beginning with A and then learning each one after A. Just like the song says... A, B, C. And then you went on to learn the other 24 letters of the alphabet, all the way to Z.
It takes a good bit of time to learn all 26 letters in the alphabet, but once you learned them, you could read!
When we learn to read music, we have to learn the musical alphabet as well, in order to be able to play the piano pieces that we want to learn.
Sometimes beginning piano students think that it will take a really long time to learn the musical alphabet and where those notes are on the piano, but the great news is, that it doesn't at all!
Instead of having to learn 26 letters, we only have to learn 7!
And...if you already know your alphabet, then you don't have to learn any new letters.
What are the first 7 letters of the alphabet?
A - B - C - D - E - F - G
Those same 7 letters...are the musical alphabet!
For beginning piano players, you already know the musical alphabet if you can read words. There won't be anything new to learn, except to stop at G, instead of going on to H. There's not a note named "H". :)
Let's take a look at where these 7 notes are on the keyboard.
The 3rd letter which is C, is Middle C, and usually the first note we learn on the keyboard. Did you see that the A is repeated at the end of those notes? We'll talk about why and what this is this further down.
Now look at this next image, and see what is different about it from the first one.
There are more notes shown on the keyboard aren't there?
But they are all the same notes and are just being repeated...did you notice that?
Have you ever wondered why there are only 7 notes in the musical alphabet and yet there are up to 88 keys on the piano; each representing an individual note?
While it is true that there are only 7 notes in the musical alphabet, there are many octaves that use those same 7 notes.
What is an octave?
An octave is a group of actually 8 notes, that are played right after each other. Just like when you say the letter alphabet, starting at the beginning and going all the way through to Z.
In Music, we start at A, and go through G, but we also add in another note after the 7th one, that is simply the first note repeated, and octave higher.
Every group of 8 notes, (with the first one being repeated at the end) that is played going from one right next to the other, is an octave on our keyboard.
Notice that this is the main difference in how we say the letter alphabet and the musical alphabet. We repeat the first letter in music each time, to give us the 8 notes that make up the octave. In the other alphabet, we stop once we get to Z.
Beginners, now you know that when you look at all of those keys on your piano keyboard, that they are all the same 7 notes just being played in different octaves.
You don't have to learn 88 new note names at all. All you need to know to start reading music is A - B - C - D - E - F and G.
Just remember that for an octave, you need to say A - B - C - D - E - F - G - A.
It's easy to play all of those notes on the keyboard as well, once you learn where your first octave is.
Remember that once you get to the 8th note of each octave, you have really started on your next octave, and your notes will just repeat themselves again.
Are you starting to hear the "Alphabet Song" over and over in your head like me? That song is to the melody of Twinkle Twinkle Little Start, which was written by Mozart, when he was a little boy. I bet he started at the beginning too.
Stay Tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb to learn much more and achieve your dreams of playing the piano!
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