How Many Notes on the Piano Are There?

If you're wondering how many notes on piano there are, there's probably two main reasons why:

  1. You're curious and just want to know
  2. You're looking at buying a piano or keyboard and wondering what you need. 

How Many Piano Keys There Are

There are 88 keys on the piano altogether. 

There are 36 black keys and 52 white keys on the piano. 


So that takes care of the curiosity side of things. But let's learn a little bit more about the piano layout and how many keys you need to start learning piano. 

Why Are There Black & White Notes on the Piano?

There are a few different reasons that black and white notes are so helpful on the piano. The first reason is the pattern. 

If you look at the picture above, you'll see a pattern of 2 black notes and then 3 black notes. This pattern tells us what the notes are called and where they are.

It would be much more difficult to play piano in a sea of just white notes or just black notes. This pattern is easy to recognize and use.

What are the White Notes Called on Piano?

The white notes have letter names and use the musical alphabet. They are A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Then the alphabet starts over again at A. 

So when you look at the piano, every D falls between the set of 2 black notes. No matter where you are on the piano, that note is D. 

If you haven't learned all the notes yet, you can visit the Piano Key Notes page to learn these. 

What are the Black Notes Called?

The black notes don't have letter names but instead are called sharps or flats depending on the circumstance.

The black note directly above C, for example, is called C# (C sharp). But this can also be called D flat (Db). 

It depends how it is written in the music or which key you are playing in.

What Are Octaves?

It's also useful to think about the piano in terms of octaves. An octave happens every 8 notes. So C to the very next C is one octave. 

How many octaves are there on the piano? There are 7 octaves or technically, 7 and 1/3 as the piano starts on A as its lowest note and ends on C as its highest note. 

White piano in room with books

How Many Piano Keys Do You Need On A Keyboard?

If you are looking to buy a piano keyboard, you'll find most of them have less than the 88 keys. In fact, it is unusual to find a full length piano keyboard unless you're going for a higher quality digital piano. 

If you're looking at buying a keyboard, there are details on what to look for on How to Buy A Piano Keyboard. There are a few things you need to have other than the correct number of keys.

In terms of piano keys, a keyboard with 61 keys is suitable for beginners. Sometimes you'll find you want to go just a touch lower and don't have the keys for that but otherwise, this is a good and very common starting place. 

You can also get keyboards with 76 keys. These are less common but I think that they are the better option. You often don't get to the really high or low notes when you play on all 88 keys so 76 keys is a really good alternative. 

If you are looking for buy a piano or piano keyboard, these pages will help:

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