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The sheer quantity of  instruction on the internet is amazing. Tutorials, write-ups, lectures, opinions, what not. Here’s me adding my 20ml of borrowed knowledge into the pool. The idea is to kiss, keep it short and simple

1) 7 white keys and 5 black keys as above form a segment (like the sa re ga ma pa da ni of carnatic music).  Caution : There’s an extra C sitting in the above picture though

2) C is the Sa, for beginners. There are apparently different “scales”, where you start off with some other key

3) The black keys, as you can see are arranged in twos and threes. You identify the Cs by looking at the black keys, and picking the white key to the left of the first of the black twos

4) Each black key has two names. Learn by example :

  • The black key between C and D is called “C sharp” (written C#). It’s other name is “D flat” (written D♭)
  • The black key between G and A is called , yes you clever so and so, G# or A

The fancy word for ‘two-named’ is enharmonic

5) Ha, so is E = F♭? And F = E # ?

6) Half steps : C# is ahead of C by a half step, F too is ahead of E by a half step. And two half steps make a whole step. So D is ahead of C by a whole step.

7) Your fingers are numbered, as follows :

The idea is to use 5 fingers to play five consecutive notes, but then it rapidly becomes difficult to lift your hand and move it across the piano and start playing again. This is when you employ crossing over techniques.

Example : Right hand : 1  2 3 , cross the thumb from under and play the note instead of 1 2 3 4

Another example : Left hand 3 2 1, cross the middle finger from above and play the note , instead of 3 2 1 and fumbling around for a random finger

8) Italian words make their entry

Legato : Tied together. When you play the keys so that the sound seems continuous. You press the next key and then, and only then release the previous key

Staccato : Detached. Short, disjointed sounds

9) Crossing over techniques helps maintain legato

Preliminary exercises

1) Identify C’s all over the place

2) Learn to name the keys on sight instantaneously

3) Learn to name the keys by sound

4) Play C D E F G , using left hand [5 4 3 2 1] and right hand [1 2 3 4 5], separately and then together

5) Play CDEFG with both hand – both legato, both staccato, one legato and one staccato (simultaneously)

You can also play Mary had a little lamb by the ear, if you get bored.

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