1. What Are the Musical Notes on the Piano?


Welcome to the first tutorial in our step-by-step piano tutorial for beginners series.

In this tutorial, we will see the basic principles that you need to know before starting to play.

This post will cover the following subjects:

  • What is music?
  • What are musical notes?
  • The 12 musical notes
  • How musical notes are classified

What is music?

Before getting into the matter, we have to have a clear definition of what music is.

Music is a collection of sounds that are pleasing to hear. Simply stated, music consists of a continuous flow of silences and sounds.

Now we will see what those sounds are and what they are called.


What are the musical notes?

Musical notes are the sounds that make up music.

Any sound source, including voices, musical instruments, and even commonplace objects like whistles or falling coins, can produce them. In short, everything we hear comes from a sound.

Each sound has a unique name, and we’ll learn them in the next section.


The 12 Musical Notes

In music, there are seven basic notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. These notes are like the colors of a rainbow, each with its own special sound. Imagine playing the white keys on a piano, one by one, to hear these seven notes.

But there are also other notes that we can play, called sharps and flats.

Sharps (#) make the notes sound a little higher, like adding a bit of sunshine to the rainbow.

Flats (b) make the notes sound a little lower, like adding a bit of shade.

These sharps and flats are like the different shades and tints of each color, giving us even more variety in the music we can create.

In the image, we can see that the main notes are seven: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. And these notes are repeated by adding a sharp sign (#) or a flat sign (b), which form the 12 notes of music.

The altered notes, i.e., sharps and flats, represent the black keys of the piano.

So, you can find the sharps and flats on the black keys of the piano. It might take a little practice to learn all 12 notes, but don’t worry, we’ll take it step-by-step in the next lesson.

However, you have to learn these twelve musical notes by heart, no matter what, since they are the basis for learning any instrument.


How Musical Notes are Classified

There are two main groups in which these musical notes are classified, and they are the following:

Natural Notes

Natural notes are the notes that do not have any alteration, that is, which do not have any sharp (#) or flat (b) signs and are:
C, D, E, F, G, A, and B.

These natural notes represent the white keys on the keyboard.

Altered Notes

Altered notes are the notes that do have an alteration, either
going up, ascending, as sharp notes (C#, D#, F#, G#, A#) or
going down, descending, with flats (Db, Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb).

The altered notes represent the black keys of the piano.


Learn by heart the 12 notes of music in ascending and descending order before moving on to the next lesson, or you could break it down into smaller steps, like learning the seven basic notes first, then the sharps and flats separately.



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