Play the Piano – The Layout of the Keyboard

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 51,285
    Professional pianist Alex Wasserman breaks down the layout of the keyboard.

    Alex Wasserman

    Alexander Wasserman is a professional pianist and pedagogue whose performances include Suburban Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland, “Pianofest” , Peabody Institute, Los Angeles. He is on the faculty at the International School of Music (ISM) in Bethesda, where he teaches piano to all ages, levels, and styles. With a distinguished faculty of 55 teachers, ISM provides students with a rich music education experience. The ISM faculty’s friendly personalities, insightful approaches, and individually tailored teaching methods have helped students become complete and versatile musicians. ISM provides an atmosphere that is warm and supportive so every student can achieve his/her best.

    Alex Wasserman: Hi, my name is Alex Wasserman. I am a pianist and a piano teacher. I teach right here at the International School of Music in Bethesda, Maryland. I am here today, to talk to you a little bit about how the piano works and the basics of playing the piano. The first thing I would like to start out with is the layout of the keyboard. As you can see, the keyboard has a pattern to it. There are white keys all the way across and in between, we have black keys. They are setup in groups of two, three, two, three, two, three and so on all the way up to the top of the keyboard. This helps the pianist navigate around the keyboard. If they were all white notes, it will be very difficult to tell which note is which, but with the black notes, it helps our eye orient itself to know where each note is on the keyboard. For instance, if I were to play a middle C I know that this note, the C is directly to the left of a group of two black notes. Now this is not the only C on the entire piano. Anytime I see a group of two black notes, I know that the white note directly to the left is a C. That would mean that this is a C, this is a C, this is a C, this is a C, C, C. Another example would be with the group of three black notes. Let's say, let's take G for example. G is the first white note in between the group of three black notes and by knowing that, I can play every G on the piano. This is a very logical way to organize the piano. Although, it might seem very confusing at first, it becomes easy to navigate around the piano when you see it in terms of a pattern of black and white notes. Next, we are going to be talking about the dynamics of the piano.