How to Label Piano Keys?

If you look for information about labeling the piano, you probably plan to start playing this instrument by yourself or have a young, eager student at home whom you want to help as much as possible. Either way, you shouldn’t doubt the labeling system. It is practical, useful, and so far, it has helped most of the famous pianists all around the globe.

The aim of labeling is helping the beginner not to get lost in the bunch of black and white piano keys. You will find it quickly and straightforward how to label piano keys efficiently and adequately, even if you are ignorant about reading music.

What to Consider When Labeling the Piano Keys

Not every keyboard is the same. Thus, the labeling won’t be identical in all cases. I will show you what materials to use to label the keys and how to mark them. Before starting, you should determine or read in a manual how many keys there are on your keyboard.

Since some chemicals can affect the keys’ structure, always read the ingredients list of the markers and labels you use. Furthermore, it would help if you tried to find advice about particular materials you shouldn’t apply to the piano keys. That way, you will safe-keep your piano for many years to come.

System of Labeling Materials

Markers

For simple, not long-lasting labeling, you can use a classic marker and write letters on the keys. It is preferable to use dark markers for white keys and white or bright ones for black keys.

It is an excellent idea to mark the white keys somewhere in its middle, close to the bottom of the black keys. That way, you won’t wipe them out with your fingers while playing, and you will be able to see them.

The same advice can be applied to black keys. You should mark them on their tops, as the top parts of the piano keys are rarely pressed, and the marker will stay longer.

Stickers and labels

You can make your piano stickers if you are a DIY type of person. In case you are not, you can always purchase already printed and made piano stickers for a few bucks. Either way, you should carefully read the ingredients content to prevent harming your piano keys with some aggressive sticker glue.

Stickers can be classical with ABCDEFG markings, or for younger beginners, who are still not able to read, there is a possibility of stickers in different colors. With such stickers, they will be able to recognize the tone by matching color until they learn to play or write.

Marking Different Types of Keyboards

Marking Different Types of Keyboards
Image: Noname Music

As I have already mentioned, not all keyboards have the same numbers of keys. Therefore, after determining which one you have, you should apply the matching way of labeling.

White keys

Some keyboards start with the C key, and some keyboards begin with the F key. There is a simple rule to discover the first key if you don’t know with which key it starts. Look at your keyboard and find the first three black keys that come together. key is the one between the second and third black ones. Now, we have the A key, and for you who are not into music, it goes up to G.

Accordingly, the B key is next, and so on until you reach the G key. Logically, when you end with G, you automatically start with A again. You can then go even backward and mark all the keys.

The same rule can also be applied differently. When you see the first pair of black keys, you will spot the white key before the first black and the C key. And mark all other keys accordingly. You can choose the rule that suits you more.

Black keys

Now that you have determined the white keys, let’s find out how to label the black ones, as you will need them to play. When you look from left to right, the first coming black key that goes after every white key is the same one, just sharp.

For instance, if you have the white A key, the first black key coming to the right will be the A sharp key. When you mark the key, you don’t need to write ‘Sharp A.’ There is the sign for sharp, and that is #. So, after every white key, you should label the same black, sharp one.

Vice versa, before every white key, comes that same key but flat. For example, the black key before the white A key is flat A. Again, you don’t have to write a flat next to the A you can just write a small letter b.

If you have understood that every black key needs to have labels or markings, be sure that you are right. For example, A white key will have a black key on the left with labels both G# (G sharp) and Ab (A flat). Also, on the right will be the other black key with labels A# (A sharp) and Bb (B flat). That is how the musical scale will look like labeled on your keyboard.

Different keyboards

Even though most pianos have the keyboard with 88 keys, you can find those with 32, 36, 49, 61, and 76 keys, as well. They can all come in two versions starting with the C key or starting with the F key. They are often referred to as 32 keys 1 for the one beginning with the C key, and 32 keys 2, when starting with F keys.

The same model goes for all other keyboards such as 88 keys 1 starting with the C key, and 88 keys 2 beginning with the F key.

Summary

No matter how you choose to label your keys, you will find it easy as ABC if you follow these simple rules. Then, you can begin mastering the piano and enjoying every moment of playing. There is nothing that can stop you from achieving your dream.

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