Naming the Black Keys - Accidentals
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 from 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
PS. If you read all this- perhaps you no longer need the piano keyboard diagram! :)