Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TILAP #1: Keyboard Layout

TILAP: Things I Learned About Piano

I spent more than a few years learning to play piano. The last few years were wasted given how little interest I had -- I feel bad for the person who paid for those lessons. But it didn't all go to waste, I think I still remember some basic basics. All of this music knowledge came in handy for high school band too. We really didn't go into much detail in the musical theory department during band class. That was over a decade ago and after a short fling with a guitar, I stopped having anything to do with music except listening to it. The piano lessons started something like a decade before that.

Seems like a waste to just let all of that stuff tattooed into my head go to waste, so why not journal some of it? This is a series about what I learned about very basic piano and music reading.

Disclaimer: I'm not a music expert, especially after a decade of having virtually nothing to do with music. How do I put this nicely: I wouldn't consider any of this stuff to be accurate. Everything was written off the top of my head with no further verification. This was mainly written for my amusement.

Keyboard: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, A, B, C, D, E, F, G... H?
Layout of a Piano Keyboard
One of the first things I was taught was where to find middle-C. My piano teacher had two pianos and made me find it on each piano. That wasn't very hard because it was the C around the middle of the entire piano and usually right under the brand label. Then I took home a workbook and had to write out the numbers 1 to 5 showing where to place my hands at rest. Right hand starting from the thumb was on middle-C, and the left was one step down, again on a C.

It didn't take long before I was being taught the full "alphabet" of the keyboard: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Actually, I think I was taught the note sounds first: Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do. They matched up, apparently...

C - Do
D - Re
E - Me
F - Fa
G - So
A - La
B - Ti
C - Do

The happy face in the keyboard above was drawn on the key for the note, C (Do). I was taught that every lower, wider, white colored key was one letter in the alphabet or a single note. That made the lower, white key to the right of the happy face a D (Re) and the lower, white key to the left a B (Ti). The notes went from A through G before resetting to A. One of the big questions for me was why the C wasn't an A given how C was used as a centerpiece in everything.

I didn't touch the upper, thinner, black colored keys until later unless I bumped them accidentally. These keys were really useful for getting my bearings around the keyboard though.

Cut My Nails. Now?
Oh right, my teacher made an effort to tell me to cut my nails and to press keys with my finger tips. There were more than a few times when I was told to go cut my nails in the washroom in the middle of a lesson. Thinking back, that was really unsanitary. That was either my teacher's personal nail clipper or communal set. I really doubt that it was washed or disinfected after every use. Good thing I was young and didn't know better?

TILAP #1: Keyboard Layout
TILAP #2: Reading Piano Sheet Music
TILAP #3: Sharps and Flats

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