Thursday, January 20, 2011


Piano or musical keyboard is one of those instruments everyone seems to have played at least once, and is also the first musical instrument that many people learn to play.

Playing the piano is very easy; little kids as young as 4 or 5 yr old play it, it's just a matter of practice and playing the songs you like.

First in learning piano is the layout of the keys.

The keys are eight white and five black keys per octave, the latter which are placed between two white keys and further away from the player than the white ones. Each pair of white keys has its corresponding black key, except between E - F, and B - C.

The keys start with C, the first white key that is followed by a black one. You can quickly identify it because there are only two black keys in the "group" where the C key is.

The names of the keys follow the alphabet ( A B C D E F G, repeats ), the black being either sharp if to the right of a key, or flat if to the left. Each group from C to C including flats and sharps ( black keys ), is called an octave.

After the getting to know the layout, you need some music to play and practice. Reading sheet music is a good way to get some music playing.

A piano music sheet is composed of two sections, one for the bass section or accompaniment which is played with the left hand, and the melody or treble section, played with the right hand. The treble section is placed above the bass section, separated by a blank space.

Each section contains five lines and four spaces in between the lines, each representing a pitch or note; the next line is always the next letter in a note. For example, if a space is the note C, the next line above it will be D, and the next space will be E.

An easy way to remember them is by using mnemonics: a name or sound easier to remember than just the raw info. For the treble section, the positions at the spaces between the lines spell  F A C E ( self explanatory ) from the bottom up; the bass section for the same spaces spell  A C E G ( an easy way is ACE of Gold, like the playing card name, or alternatively, [A]ll [C]ows [E]at [G]rass ).

The position determines the note to be played, and the shape of the note symbol written defines how long it should be played. The base time or whole note ( pictured as a white fill circle) is the longest time a note is played, and all others are in comparison to that note.

Next is the half note ( pictured as a smaller white circle with a line pointing either up or down ), as the name suggests, it is played with a duration of half the whole. Others are the quarter ( pictured similar to the half, except with a black fill ), the eighth ( like a quarter, but with a small wave line at the end of the line ).

For simple melodies and pieces the position is more than enough to play, the duration of each note and the overall tempo can be estimated.

Now, some songs to play and practice with!

You can find some beginner music sheets at capotastomusic including twinkle twinkle little star, amazing grace and others. For the more popular songs like Just the way you are from bruno mars, some from britney spears, taylor swift, eminem and others, littletranscriber has a few available ( a bit more difficult than capotasto's, but has more show-off value when playing to friends =] ).

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