Understanding The Piano Keyboard For Your Piano Lessons

Familiarizing yourself with your piano keyboard is a great way to get your mind and body in sync with it. You help yourself perform better and become one when you have a clear understanding of your keys and how they work. In this article, we’ll take a look at the keyboard and explain in it in detail.

How Does A Piano Keyboard Look & What Are The Key Names?

A piano keyboard has a total of 88 keys, containing a combination of black keys that repeat in patterns of 2′s and 3′s and white keys that run the full span of the keyboard. Each key produces a different sound as you play them one at a time, starting from the first white key on the left to the very last white key on the right.

88keys Piano Keyboard Thumbnail - Click for bigger view

88keys Piano Keyboard Thumbnail – Click for bigger view

The names for the keys come from the first 7 letters of the alphabet – A B C D E F G:

White Piano Keys Named

White Piano Keys Named

The black keys will oscillate between the name of the white key before or after it, using either a sharp or flat symbol:

Black Piano Key Names

Black Piano Key Names


What Position Should I Start On The Piano Keyboard?

Regardless of what song you’re playing, you always want to position yourself in front of the middle C key. The photo below shows its position:

Middle C Key Position

Middle C Key Position


This is the exact center of your piano and you want to be able to reach all the keys that are within the piece you’re playing. Sitting in the correct position is crucial not only for your piano lessons but for the performances you’ll be playing.

What Is An Octave & Where Is It On The Piano Keyboard?

An octave is a range of keys that start and end with the same key but at a higher or lower pitch. Besides each key having a letter name, the entire keyboard is broken up into two-alphanumeric characters that distinguishes the eight octaves, which is called scientific pitch notation. View the table below to see how the keys are named based on their position:


Octave Range


A0 B0


C1 D1 E1 F1 G1 A1 B1


C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 A2 B2


C3 D3 E3 F3 G3 A3 B3


C4 D4 E4 F4 G4 A4 B4


C5 D5 E5 F5 G5 A5 B5


C6 D6 E6 F6 G6 A6 B6


C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 A7 B7



Let’s see how these octaves are laid out on the keyboard. The images below are broken up into sections with some repeating just so you’ll know where they leave off:

Left Side of Keyboard

Left Side of Keyboard

In the image above, you can see that octave 0 has the keys of A0 and B0. The black key, A#/Bb, is also included but we’re focusing on the natural range of each octave. The next two octaves, 1 and 2, contains the range of C1 D1 E1 F1 G1 A1 B1, and C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 A2 B2.


Left-Middle of Keyboard

Left-Middle of Keyboard

This image repeats the second octave from above because I wanted to give you an idea of where the third octave lies. The third octave shows the range of C3 D3 E3 F3 G3 A3 B3.

Middle of Keyboard

Middle of Keyboard

The fourth octave, C4 D4 E4 F4 G4 A4 B4, is the most commonly played octave because it sits right in the middle of your piano keyboard. C4 is middle C and as mentioned earlier in this post, this is where you want to place yourself when playing your songs and exercises.

Right-Middle of Keyboard

Right-Middle of Keyboard

Octave 5 is within the middle right of your keyboard and is one octave higher from middle C. Its keys consist of C5 D5 E5 F5 G5 A5 B5.

Right Side of Keyboard

Right Side of Keyboard

Octave 6 and 7 consist of C6 D6 E6 F6 G6 A6 B6 and C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 A7 B7 respectively. The last octave only has one key, C8 because it is the last key on the keyboard.


As you begin taking piano lessons, you’ll become more acquainted with your piano keyboard.

What questions do you have about the piano keyboard? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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