Identifying Accidentals On The Piano | Piano Jump Start

In the first video of this series which introduced us to the basics of the piano we spoke about how the white keys on the keyboard are considered the natural notes, while the black keys may be referred to as accidentals.

With the exception of the fifth finger exercise, in this video program we don't focus on the black keys as much as we do all of the natural notes.

Regardless, they are still very important to go over nonetheless.

In this section we're going to go over how to identify the letter names for each black key.

Half Step

An interval is the distance in pitch between two consecutive notes.

The most basic of intervals, half step, also known as a semitone, spans from one key to the very next key, white or black, either directly above or below the original note.

For example, a half step above the note C is this black key.

HS_CDflat.png

A half step below the note G is this black key.

HS_GAflat.png

But half steps aren't always just the distance from white key to black key.

Because there is no black key between them, a half step above the note B is the note C.

HS_BC.png

And for the same reason, a half step below the note F is the note E.

HS_EF.png

Whole Step

Now, this is actually very important to remember. The only two sets of natural notes which are separated by a half step are B and C, and E and F. All other natural notes are separated by a whole step, also known as a whole tone.

A whole step, also known as a whole tone, is simply the distance of two consecutive half steps.

Moving up a half step above the note F would lead us to this black key.

HS_CDflat.png

And another half step, this time from this black key, would take us to the note G.

HS_GAflat.png

Therefore, the notes F and G, having been two consecutive half steps apart, are separated by a whole step.

The only two sets of white keys which are separated by a half step are B and C, and E and F. All other natural notes are separated by a whole step.

It's important to know about both a half step and a whole step, but just for the sake of this video where we're going to identify the letter names of each black key we'll only have to think about an interval of a half step.

Sharp

A sharp is a symbol which when placed next to a note will raise the pitch of that note by one half step.

Sharp.png

For example, because it is a half step above the note C, and a sharp raises a note by one half step, this black key can be identified by the letter name C-sharp.

Sharp_Csharp.png
SMALL_Dsharp.png

A half step above the note D is the note D-sharp.

SMALL_Fsharp.png

A half step above the note F is the note F-sharp.

SMALL_Gsharp.png

A half step above G is G-sharp.

SMALL_Asharp.png

And a half step above A is A-sharp.

Flat

A flat does the opposite of a sharp. A flat lowers a note by one half step.

Flat.png

In other words, the black key one half step below the note B would be the note B-flat.

Flat_Bflat.png
SMALL_Aflat.png

A half step below the note A is the note A-flat.

SMALL_Gflat.png

A half step below the note G is the note G-flat.

SMALL_Eflat.png

A half step below the note E is the note E-flat.

SMALL_Dflat.png

A half step below the note D is the note D-flat.

Enharmonic Equivalents

Whenever you have a pitch that can be identified by two or more different letter names, those letters are considered to be enharmonic equivalents.

In other words, an enharmonic equivalent is essentially a note or pitch that can be spelled with two or more letter names.

In this case, because they both represent the same tone (the same key on the piano), the letter names C-sharp and D-flat are considered to be enharmonic equivalents.

SamePitch.png

Here are theletter names, both sharp and flat, of each black key on the piano.

Accidentals.png

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