Naming Black Keys on the Piano

SHARPS & FLATS:

The black keys on the piano are grouped into a pattern of sets of 2 black keys and sets of 3 black keys.

Each black key is called a sharp or a flat. The same key has two different names.

Naming the set of 3 black keys:

  • The first black key of the sets of 3 would be F# (F sharp) or Gb (G flat).
  • The second black key of the sets of 3 would be G# (G sharp) or Ab (A flat).
  • The third black key would be A# (A sharp) or Bb (B flat).

Naming the set of 2 black keys:

  • The first one would be C# (C sharp) or Db (D flat).
  • The second black key would be D# (D sharp) or Eb (E flat).

 

If you see a sharp sign before a note in your music, you play one key to the right of the key you would normally press (whether the one key to the right is black or white.)

If you see a flat sign before the note in your music, you play one key to the left of the key you   would normally press (whether the one key to the left is black or white.)

Don’t stress too much about how or why, just accept that each black key has two different names. It will become more clear as you progress and encounter them in your piano pieces.

Let’s recap:

All the white keys have the names of A-B-C-D-E-F-G; whereas the black keys are named either a sharp or a flat.

Sharps are played one key to the right whether black or white. The sharp sign is placed in the music before the note that will be played a sharp.

Flats are played one key to the left whether black or white. The flat sign is placed in the music before the note that will be played a flat.

Whoo hoo! Let those fingers dance 🙂