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Learn to play the piano, starting with our easy music theory online lesson for free! 

Chapter One: Seven Basic Notes

The first thing that we going to learn is where the note "C" is on the piano! Take a good look at the piano keyboard. Do you notice an alternating pattern of three-black-note groups and two-black-note groups?

"C" is on the left of the two-black-note group near the middle of the keyboard! All adjacent notes are named in alphabetical order from left to right on the keyboard:

Notice how the order of the alphabets “reset” after the note G? That’s how it is with the piano: there are only seven notes (also knowns as Pitches) repeated across the keyboard!

Chapter 2: Notes On A Score

Now that you’ve learnt where C and the adjacent notes are, it’s time to learn where they are on a score!

Notice the five horizontal lines that stretch across the score? That is called a Staff. A Staff is made up of five horizontal lines and the four spaces in between those lines, and it is where notes are written to communicate ideas and instructions from a composer to a performer.


Do you also see the symbol on the far left of the stave? That is a Clef, or more specifically, a Treble Clef in this case. There are a few different types of clefs, and the function of a clef is to determine the position of Middle C on the staff. The Treble Clef, for example, informs us that Middle C is one line below the staff (See where Middle C is boxed up?), which means to say that when we see this note on the score, it is an instruction for us to play Middle C on the piano. Notice also how each subsequent note follows the order of the alphabets and climbs up the staff by step in a line-space-line-space pattern.

Chapter 3: Time Value

Besides pitch, every note on a score also communicates to the reader how long to hold the note for, otherwise called the Time Value of a note. Here are some basic time values:

The number of counts refers to how long a note is to be held: two counts means that you are to hold a note and count to two before releasing the note; four counts means that you are to hold a note and count to four before releasing the note - it’s that simple! 

Now that you've learnt how to read some basic notes, you are ready to move on to our Piano For Beginners lesson!

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