Locating Notes on a Keyboard

The Geography of the Keyboard

The image of a keyboard is a very powerful tool to see relationships between musical notes.  An octave consists of twelve notes, and each octave is repeated upwards and downwards on a keyboard.  The alternating pattern of two black keys, then three black keys, makes it easy to see where a new octave begins.  Each pitch is repeated in every octave. 

The note to the left of the two black keys is “C”, and moving upwards to the right the white notes are “D” and “E”.   The note to the left of the three black keys is “F”, and moving upwards to the right the white notes are “G”, and “A”, and “B”.  The black notes between these are referred to by the same pitch names, with either a sharp or flat to indicate whether it is above or below. 

Each octave on the keyboard is designated by a number.  Middle “C” is in the center of the keyboard, and this is the beginning of octave 4 on a piano with 88 keys.  It is referred to as “C4” and all the notes in the same octave have the superscript 4.  The next octave to the right begins with “C5” and the notes in this octave have the superscript 5.  Notes in the octave below “C4” are in the third octave, designated with a 3.

The challenge before you is to immediately identify any pitch in any octave on the keyboard, and associate it with the notation on the grand staff

Music Courseware Activities

Visitors – Select the Activity Keyboard: Key Names

Visitors – Select the Activity Keyboard: Note Location

Students – Take a test or quiz assigned by your instructor.

Scroll to Top