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Guitar Lessons in Columbus Ohio - What Do Piano Keyboards Look The Way They Do?

     The answer to this question may bewilder you (it's not something many people know-including some musicians). If you are just starting out as a player this basic and solid concept will carry you far in new ideas. After I solve this question we will take a look at how this new found comprehension can be applied in an easy and practical way.

It seems almost everyone has an old rusty piano somewhere in their house. They are sometimes treated as furniture by some and sometimes even serve as a reminder of a failed attempt at playing. Or maybe something that was foisted onto them by a relative (especially the ones that are dusty and out of tune).

If you look at the keys on any keyboard you will notice a rucurring arrangement. There are 2 black keys, then what appears to be a space, then 3 black keys etc....This arrangment continues all the way up and all the way down the keyboard. A customary size keyboard is 88 keys.

Now, in this example I want you to see the black keys as holes we have to escalate over, and the white keys sort of like a 'bottom sidewalk'. If we start on the note 'c' which is the note directly to the left of the first 2 black key group, we will then move to the next note on the musical timeline which is d. Then e, f, g, a, and b.

We will do this until we return to where we started on c. It is important to take into account how many times we had to 'leap' when we went c-d-e-f-g-a-b. The answer is the black keys. I will try and diagram it out for below using text:


So a total of 5 seperate 'jumps' were completed. Also note there was no jump between b and c, and e and f.

This is telling us something and we are starting to get closer to the answer. The answer is the framework on which music rests. The Key of C is the center piece for understanding the arrangement..

There are 2 different 'hops' in music when going from one note to another. The first is a 'wholestep' (2 frets on guitar) and the second is called 'halfstep'.(1 fret on guitar) . These are literally the building blocks of music. If you can, try and visualize a horizontal line of squares. Each of these squares will equal a half step and 2 squares will amount to a whole step.

By the way, again a halfstep on guitar is one fret, and a wholestep is two frets.

Find F on your low E, then place your finger on it and press down hard and give it a pluck and we can get started..

Now play F (first fret low E) and then move in the same order as the notes in the key of c abiding and conforming to the contour of the 'jumps' we talked about earlier. If you do this correctly you will have played all of the notes in the key of F.

So simply by starting on F and repeating the blueprint of the white keys starting c, We have the Do-Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do scale.

So, if you drew a number one in the first square of your horizontal squares line and then applied the following principle:
whole step-whole step-half step-whole step-whole step-whole step-half step

You would leap 2 squares then another 2 squares, then one, then 3 whole steps, and then a half step. Now contemplate your guitar in the same way as the level numberline and you will see that it is all just a repeatable order that defines music and it's componentry. So the next time you look at a keyboard you may want to just play the white keys only. This is the key of C. The prototype key or master key.

Simply stay on the white keys of a piano and you are playing in the key of c. You can't hit a mistaken note.
Try it!

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Posted on 2011-01-18, By: *

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