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Piano Lesson 1 for Beginners
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Lesson 1: Reading Piano Tabs

Piano Lesson 1 Piano Lesson 2

Ambrose Piano Tabs Explained [Lesson 1]
The picture below represents a piano keyboard.

The white notes are evenly spaced and the black notes are grouped in twos and threes along it. The lines extending down from the keyboard represent the black keys.
A note is shown as a big dot. When the dot is on a line, a black note is played. When the dot is between two lines (or to the side of a line) a white note is played. Visualise the lines as the keyboard, where black keys are black lines.

Sit at your piano keyboard facing the centre, with your feet in line with the pedals. Using only your index finger play all the black groups of two

Piano Tabs Lines
Still using only your index finger, starting at the top of the page, play the notes in turn (use any group of twos and threes in the middle of the keyboard). This example is mostly black notes (notes with black lines through them) but watch out for the two white notes.

Your First Tune

Now play the whole tune - do you recognise it? You have successfully read and played your first piece of music. Well done!

Right and Left Hands
Now try playing the music above (each hand separately) at different places along the keyboard. You will notice that the tune is the same but higher or lower in pitch. The low notes are on the left hand side of the keyboard, and the high notes are on the right. Repeat playing this tune in different areas on the keyboard until you are familiar with the groupings of black notes. Each group of two and three black notes plus their surrounding 7 leftmost white notes is called an octave. Most beginners` music only uses the two middle octaves; the left hand uses the left octave and the right hand uses the right octave.

Now play only the white notes (use one finger).

  • Left hand for the left octave
  • Right hand for the right octave

Now repeat this performance, but with the black notes instead.

`Middle C`
You will notice that you repeated the note in the middle of the keyboard. This is called "middle C". This note is the starting position for a lot of beginners` music. Remember where it is - in the middle of the keyboard to the left of two black notes. You will also notice that we started on a "C" and finished on a "C". Now play all the "C`s" on the keyboard. Your fingers should be curved and your wrists should be level with your arms.

Your First Five Finger Exercise
The fingers on both hands are numbered from thumb (1) to the little finger (5). The number shown against a note corresponds to the finger to be used on that note. Play the first five notes on each octave with all your fingers, first go up and then come down. Repeat again and again until your fingers work well. Now try to play both hands together!

The Names of Notes
The white notes are called A, B, C, D, E, F and G; they are in fixed positions relative to the black notes and repeat for each octave. White notes are called naturals. Black notes are called sharps or flats. A black note to the left of a white note it is a flat; a black note to the right of a white note is a sharp. So, the black note between C and D can be either C sharp or D flat. With Ambrosepianotabs, reading sharps and flats are just as easy as reading naturals, so it is not necessary to restrict beginners` music to "easy" keys such as C Major (all white notes) or G major (only one black note).

The important points in Ambrosepianotabs must be understood before we go on:

  1. A black line through a note is a black note. The lines are printed in the same pattern of twos and threes as black keys on the piano keyboard. A note on a space between the lines is a white note.
  2. The gap in the middle of the Ambrosepianotabs lines represents the middle of the piano. The middle of the piano is used the most. The left hand usually plays the notes to the left of the middle and the right hand plays those to the right.
  3. Middle C is the usual starting point for beginners and is the white note immediately to the left of the two black notes in the middle of the piano.
  4. When you look at the lines, visualise the keyboard in your mind`s eye and play the notes shown. As soon as you have understood this concept we put the lines horizontally and read the music across the page.
  5. The black notes in twos and threes and the 7 white notes left of them form groups called octaves, beginning and ending with the same note, an octave apart.