The musical alphabet
By understanding music theory, we discover which notes belong together. There are seven different notes within the musical alphabet. We use two different methods to name them. The first method is an age-old way that is the basis of 'classical' musical training. You probably know it too: think of Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si (Ti).
What is the big difference between these two methods?
Good question! In principle, there is hardly any difference. However, they tend to favour the modern method in the United States. In Europe, it is the other way around; they prefer the classical method. In my opinion, the first approach is a lot more practical, so I will mainly focus on this method.
Meanwhile, can you find the note C (or ‘Do’) immediately? Great! Now we can add the rest of the letters to the white keys. The picture above may help you.
The orange key represents the 'middle C'. Although it is not exactly in the middle, it is an important starting point for beginning musicians. Remember the image below? We can always find the middle C by looking at the first “Do” on the staff.
From now on, when you see the letter C, you know it’s about the note ‘Do’. When you see the letter D, you know it is named ‘Re’, and so on. We learned the alphabet contains seven tones and has a recurring pattern of octaves.
What about the black keys in between? How do we name them?
Check out our second lesson about sharps and flats!