In this lesson, you can print piano keyboard diagram templates for free and learn all the note names quickly and easily on the piano keys.
This is a useful tool when you are starting out to learn to play the piano, so you will not get lost among all the piano keys!
- But keep on reading, and by the end of this lesson, you may no longer need it! :)
Did you know that:
In the music of the western tradition, there are 12 different notes:
On the piano keyboard layout, this can be observed in the pattern of the white and black keys.
So, the piano keyboard actually has only 12 different keys; 7 white keys and 5 black keys. The rest of the keys are just repeated with either higher or lower pitch.
Here is another piano keyboard diagram with the note names of the white keys or the basic notes:
You can see that the 7 basic notes (A B C D E F G) are repeated over and over. But each time they repeat, the music pitch (how high or low the tone is) sounds one octave higher (if you play to the right on the keyboard).
An octave is the distance, or music interval, from one note or tone to the next with the same name, higher or lower.
You can also see that all keys have a black key between them except between E - F and B - C.
All steps (the interval from one key to the next) having a black key between them are called whole steps or tones. Those that don’t, E-F and B-C, are smaller and called semitones or half steps.
There are also half steps/semitones between a black and the white key next to it or reversed. And there are whole steps from one black key to the next with a white key between.
See how the black keys are grouped in two’s and three’s, all over the keyboard? This repeated pattern also makes it easier to find our way on the piano.
Look at this piano keyboard diagram where the black key groups are circled:
The black keys make it possible to play many more scales and melodies. They fill in the “gap” where there are whole steps, so to speak!
By playing all the keys one by one, both the white and the black keys next to each other, you can play a chromatic scale.
A chromatic scale is made from only half steps or semitones.
The black keys are named after the white right next to them. They are alterations of the white keys.
The black keys have two names. The name depends on what white key it started from, the one above or the one below.
So how do you alter a white key?
Easy, just use one of two music symbols; the sharp (♯) or the flat (♭). These symbols, together with the natural sign (♮), are called accidentals. (Nope- no accident!).
You will see accidentals written in the sheet music right before a note.
By the way: If you just mention a black key without reading any sheet music, it is OK to use any of the two names.
Let’s say you read the note C. If there is a sharp sign (♯) in front of C, you get to play the black key a half step higher (to the right) - Yay!
In the same way, you can use the flat sign (♭) to lower a note.
Starting from D this time, and imagine having a flat sign in front of that D, you will then instead play the black key a half step lower (to the left):
-Whoa, stop there! D♭ is the same key as C♯???
Yes, it is! The keys can have two names, depending on the accidentals. If they end up on the same key like this, they are called enharmonic (“one sounded”).
You can use a sharp or flat sign on any note. So even an E can have a sharp sign… and where does it go? To F!
Since there is only a half step between E and F - and a sharp sign raises the note a half step - there is only F to go to. So E♯ and F are also enharmonic.
PS. If you read all this- perhaps you no longer need the piano keyboard diagram! :)
Here is a free printable blank piano keyboard diagram (click to open a printable PDF in a new window):
Here is another piano keyboard diagram with all the note names (click to open a printable PDF in a new window):