How Keys are Named


Keys Part 1 (Key Names)

From the previous lesson we stated that irrespective of whether the entire keyboard has 88keys,76 keys or 61 keys the number of unique keys on the keyboard remains 12.

We have 7 white keys and 5 black keys which sum up to 12 keys.

White keys

The white keys are often referred to as Natural keys because it has no accidental sign (# or b) attached to their names.

The white keys are named as follows:


Black keys

The black keys are 5 in number and are grouped in two’s and three’s on the keyboard.

What this means is that after the first two’s and three’s the next black keys are mere repetition of the previous black keys. These black keys that keep on repeating itself in two’s and three’s will do a great deal in locating white keys anywhere on the keyboard.

The black keys are referred to as “enharmonics”. The term “ENHARMONICS” in music simply means when a particular have two different names but yet it’s virtually in the same spot on the keyboard.

In this light, the black keys are named with either flat (b) or sharp (#) sign.

This is because they derive their names from the Natural keys (white keys) either by flattening pr sharpening them.

A typical example is C being sharpened up to give C# while D is flattened down to give Db. However it’s the same key we are hitting either Db or C# it doesn’t matter.

Here are all black key names below:

Db or C#

Eb or D#

Gb or F#

Ab or G#

Bb or A#

A point to note is that keys D#, G# and A# exist only as Imaginary keys in music. However having the knowledge of where their imaginary position might be will aid your understanding of notes nomenclature because they exist as note names in specific keys.

Finally, it’s good practice to name all your Black keys with the flat names just to avoid confusion about when to use sharps or not.


Hence this is the list of all 12 keys:













In the next lesson we will discuss on how to locate some very important keys and use them as reference point to locate others.

***Watch Video Tutorial

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