In this first music theory lesson, we will discuss the musical alphabet, the foundation of all western music. The musical alphabet is simply the first 7 letters of the English alphabet. It starts on A and goes to G, then just starts over again, in the following manner. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A,B, C, D, E, F, G, etc.
The musical alphabet is easily visualized on a piano or keyboard. Each of the white notes represents a letter name. The alphabet just continues the pattern as you go up the keyboard. If you start on C, for instance, the next notes going up the keyboard (to the right), are D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, etc. This continues till you run out of keys. Obviously that means that on each keyboard, or piano, there are several C’s, D’s, etc.
As you go down the keyboard (to the left), the letters go backwards. So if you start with A, the next letters would be G, F, E, D, C, B, A, and back to G.
The Musical Alphabet On The Piano
If you have a keyboard available, try playing the musical alphabet to become familiar with it. If you don’t have access to a piano of keyboard, here is a link to a free, online virtual keyboard for you to try.
Learning the musical alphabet will help you tremendously down the road, as you learn to write melodies for your songs, as well as understanding the various chords that are available to you as a songwriter.