Keyboard Visualization

Memorizing the Notes on the Piano

I've discovered a few devices to help with memorizing including the above phrase to visualize CDE, FGAB:

Can't Do Everything, For-Get A-Bout it.

Can't Do Everything? For-Get A-Bout it

Notes C, D, and E are the 3 white keys surrounding the 2 black keys.

Notes F, G, A, and B are the 4 white keys surrounding the 3 black keys.

D = between 2 black keys

Here's another device: the note "D" is always the white note between the 2 black keys.

Practice playing all "Ds" up and down the keyboard saying "D" every time you play the note.

GA = between 3 black keys

One more device: "G" and "A" are always the two white notes between the 3 black keys, which spells GAGA if you find this grouping multiple times ascending.

Be sure that G is always left of A!

Musical Alphabet

There are only seven letters in the musical alphabet--the first seven letters:


These seven letters repeat over and over


Notice that BC and EF are always next to each other, while the other letter combinations have a wider space.

Also notice that after G the alphabet starts over on A.

If you are interested in learning more beyond this basic set up, then read onward.


Intervals: the distances between notes.

I like to break down intervals into two types:

  • Micro
  • Macro

We use micro intervals to see details in both chords and macro intervals.

We use macro intervals to create song melodies and song-related sounds.

(Keep in mind that "micro" and "macro" intervals are Andy terms.)

Micro Intervals

Micro intervals come in two types:

  • half steps
  • whole steps

Half Steps

A half step is the smallest distance between two notes.

BC and EF (the narrow combinations) are examples of notes a half step apart.

Ascending the keyboard in half steps will result in playing all consecutive notes including both white notes and black notes, which is chromatic. Chromatic means the notes (and sounds) are immediately next to each other. On a guitar, traveling from one fret to the next fret is a half step.

A half step is also known as a semitone or minor second.

To read more about this smallest distance between notes: semitone wiki

Whole Steps

All other letter combinations (the wider spaces) is known as a whole step, which is the same as two half steps. On the piano, all of the wider-spaced letter combinations are a whole step because of the inclusion of the black note between them. On a guitar, you would skip a fret to equal this whole step distance.

A whole step is also known as a tone, a whole tone, or a major second.

To read more about this interval: major second wiki

Macro Intervals

Macro Intervals come in 8 general types:

  • Octave, or an 8th
  • 7th
  • 6th
  • 5th
  • 4th
  • 3rd
  • 2nd
  • Primary note or Root note

If you play a Root note, a 3rd, and a 5th at the same time you will hear the sound of a chord, or harmony.

home | transcription | piano tuning | lessons | student resources | audio | about me | contact
top of page
Copyright ©