Become A Pro At Knowing Your Piano Keys

Become A Pro At Knowing Your Piano Keys

Looking at a piano, the keyboard can be a bit intimidating. If you sit at an acoustic piano, the black and white keys seem to go on forever. How do you know which one to tap? Which key do you push when you look at a sheet of music? 

How are you ever going to figure all of this out? 

Actually, it’s not as frightening as it may seem. 

A standard keyboard has 88 keys. Yet it’s not exactly 88 separate notes; instead, it’s a series of repeating groups of 12 notes that are repeated over and over again. Become A Pro At Knowing Your Piano Keys

Take a look at a keyboard and notice how the keys are displayed. You’ll see the black keys are grouped together in two’s and three’s. This separates the white keys into the appropriate pattern. Every twelve note pattern (there’s seven of them on an 88 key keyboard) repeats over and over again as you move up the keyboard. Every 12 note pattern consists of a group of two and three black key patterns, and the 7 white keys that surround them. Rinse and repeat. 

That should make your keyboard a little less intimidating. 

Now let’s find your starting point. When you hear people talking about playing, you’ll invariably hear them mention Middle C. 

The C note is always to the left of the two black key pattern on your keyboard. You can take a moment and find all 8 of them on an 88 note keyboard. Don’t forget the highest C, which is always the last white key to the right. 

Middle C is the C note residing almost in the center of your keyboard. No matter how many keys a keyboard has, this is always the pattern. Middle C is your starting point. When you start lessons, you’ll often hear teachers call it “first position” or “number one”. 

All of your music will be based from Middle C on. 

Feeling a bit more comfortable with the keyboard? Realizing it’s just a series of patterns can help you with your approach. 

Are You Up To Date On State Ivory Regulations For Pianos?

Are You Up To Date On State Ivory Regulations For Pianos?

In the piano industry, regulations have changed significantly over the years. Up until the 1950s, ivory veneering was used to cover a piano’s keys and give it the smooth, ivory look we’ve all come to associate with a piano.

Yet in the 1950s, things began to change. We began to understand the brutal nature of the ivory industry, and began abandoning the old ways of covering the keys on a keyboard with ivory, and turned to plastic instead. By the 1980s, the European market was on board with the ivory ban, and today no new pianos are built containing ivory.Are You Up To Date On State Ivory Regulations For Pianos?

Nonetheless, the US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to do its part regarding the sale of ivory, and has taken steps to increase regulation against the sale, import and export of anything ivory.

Under new Federal regulations, a piano with ivory keys will be prohibited from most sales both across state lines, for import or export, and in some cases will no longer be able to be sold within a state itself. Individual states such as New York and New Jersey have passed their own bills eliminating the sale of a piano with ivory keys within its borders. This means that anyone – individuals or dealers – will not be permitted to buy, sell, or take in trade a piano with ivory keys.

These new regulations are a hot topic among industry experts, partially because of the confusion left behind. The law is designed to put an end to elephant poaching once and for all. In some areas where elephants used to live in mass – Chad, for instance – over 90 percent of the population has been eliminated due to poaching, with less than 500 surviving.

The idea is that if things can’t be exported, imported, or sold, they will become difficult to part with and lose their value. That makes things difficult, especially for musicians who travel throughout America from abroad.

The proposed regulation does have an”antique” exemption clause for pianos more than 100 years old. But keep in mind that its often difficult to document and prove a pianos age, and you must have meticulous documentation on file in order to be safe. If a piano has had repairs or restoration in the past, it no longer qualifies, and will disqualify from the exemption.

If you own a piano that has been in your family for generations, private ownership is fine. But keep in mind that the likelihood of both selling it or in some cases even working on it is decreasing all the time.


Have further questions? Give us a call today.

Do Today’s Pianos Have Ivory Keys?

Do Today’s Pianos Have Ivory Keys?

Chances are you’ve heard the old stories about ivory being used for the keys on pianos. And when pianos were first developed, ivory was the resource of choice for the 88 keys that make up most piano keyboards. Ever heard the phrase “tickling the ivories”? Yes, it came from the idea of playing a piano with ivory keys.

Do Today's Pianos Have Ivory Keys?Ivory is a substance that comes from tusks of elephants and a few other types of animals, such as walrus. When ivory was considered a precious material used in all types of trade, including pianos, elephants were hunted down exclusively for their tusks. As the problem was exposed and the plight of the elephant came into consciousness, manufacturers quickly made the decision to change the materials used in production.

When keys were made out of ivory, they were not solid blocks of ivory. Instead, they were a thin veneer covering laid over a wooden key.

In today’s world, ivory is a banned material, and has been banned in the U.S. since the 1970s. All keys made for today’s pianos are created from plastic. Talk to us today about the best piano brand choices.

Most pianos made up until 1956 have the potential for ivory veneer on the keys. After the CITES Treaty, use of ivory was tracked and lessened until the U.S. officially banned use altogether.

Ivory does not increase the value or add to the rareness of an antique piano. Any piano with ivory keys must maintain a permit showing the details of origination and all that has occurred with the piano since its creation. If you move a piano from Europe to California, for example, you will have to be able to prove what type of animal and scientific name of animals as well as age – when the keys were replace, date and what manufacture date the ivory was made. If you don’t have proper documents, your piano may be confiscated.

If you do have a piano with ivory keys, you cannot remove the ivory veneer and use the ivory for something else. Fashioning veneers into jewelry or inlays now is considered manufacturing a banned material in the eyes of the law, and will base the new product on the date of creation – which means you can be charged if you get caught.

While there is a possibility of replacing old and broken keys with pre-ban Museum stockpiles of tusks, it’s a very expensive process. A more likely choice is to replace keys with simulated ivory or plastic key covers, which wear better and will increase the uniformity of your keyboard.

If you have old ivory keys, remember to use a natural cleanser without water, bleach or chemicals. Water will cause ivory to curl, and chemicals can hurt the quality of the ivory.