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Eighty-Eight Keys, Three Pedals, Ten Fingers, and Two Feet
In This Chapter
Exposing the ebonies and ivories ^ Picture this: Blakes E-Z Key Finder ^ Putting the pedals to the metal
I Xoure staring at all these keys, trying to make sense of the whole thing, jf and wondering why you didnt just buy a pair of cymbals and call it a day. Ive been there. It seems quite intimidating, but to paraphrase the Jackson Five: Its as easy as A-B-C, 1-2-3.
In this chapter, I help you get acquainted with all the finer features on the piano, including the keys and the pedals.
Blake's E-Z Key Finder
The first thing you notice on your keyboard is the not-so-colorful use of black and white keys aligned from left to right. The black ones are slightly raised and appear to be set further back than the white ones, as you can see in Figure 3-1.
Your basic set of black and whites
Part I: Warming Up to the Keyboard
If the black and white keys are reversed, youre either playing a very old keyboard I worry about you walking home from the museum at night or the manufacturer messed up and you got an enormous discount. Congratulations!
Each key on the keyboard represents a specific musical note. These notes use a very complex naming system the alphabet. Even more complex, I say tongue-in-cheek, is the use of only seven of the alphabets letters: A-B-C-D-E-F-G. I have no easy way for you to remember these seven letters, except start with A and dont say H.
The names of the keys correspond to the names of musical notes. (Chapter 4 explains note names.) For now, just realize that a G key plays a G note, an A key plays an A note, and so on.
I know what youre thinking: Im looking at 88 keys but I only have seven alphabet letters to name all those keys! How do I name all the other keys? For all 88 keys, the basic set of seven letter names repeats over and over.
In the following sections, I show you how to use my E-Z Key Finder technique to locate the different notes on the keyboard. After you read my technique, youll have an unforgettable way to find any key on the board.
The White keys
To make things really easy, the seven note names (A-B-C-D-E-F-G) are all on the white keys. The black keys have names of their own, but for now you can use the black keys as landmarks to find the correct white keys ... even in the dark!
You read that correctly. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, penguins and parakeets, I present to you the first instrument ever equipped with a sort of musical Braille system: The raised black keys help you locate any white key quickly and precisely.
You may observe fairly quickly that the black keys always appear in consecutive groups of two and three. There are never two sets of two black keys or two sets of three black keys in a row. This distinction of twos and threes is important and makes the job of finding white keys even easier as easy as eating.
Use your imagination and think of any set of two black keys as a pair of chopsticks. Think of any set of three black keys as the tines on a fork. (Take \\ 3 Slance at Figure 3-2.) Chopsticks starts with the letter C and fork starts
y with the letter F. This handy memory-device forms the basis of my E-Z Key Finder technique for finding the white keys on the keyboard:
T To the left of the chopsticks (two black keys) is the note C.
To the left of the fork (three black keys) is the note F.
Chapter 3: Eighty-Eight Keys, Three Pedals, Ten Fingers, and Two Feet
Chopsticks and forks on your keyboard.
Allow that to sink in, and you wont forget it. But what about the other white keys, you ask? You know the alphabet fairly well, dont you? Look at the alphabet letters again:
Notice what letters surround C and what letters surround F. The same advanced logic applies to the white keys surrounding C and F. Moving up from C you have the notes D, E, F, G. When you get to G, think Go as in go back to the beginning of the alphabet. The alphabet pattern repeats over and over again on the keyboard, as many times as you see chopsticks and forks on the keyboard.
To practice finding notes, take your chopsticks and fork and play every C and F on the keyboard, from bottom to top. Then locate every D and G. Test yourself by playing all the other white keys while reciting the names of the keys. With the aid of your utensils, youll never forget a keys name.
The black keys
Play A, then B, then the black key in between A and B. Youll notice that it sounds like a different musical note. Youre correct: Black keys do represent separate musical notes.
However, because no alphabet letter comes between the letters A and B, the black key between these two cant be given a logical alphabet name. What do we do? pondered the old key namers, a respectable but short-lived profession.
Not much for originality the key namers only worked with the first seven letters of the alphabet the black keys were assigned the same name as the closest white key but with one of the following suffixes added on: