A musical note is simply a physical frequency. The note is determined by the speed the air is vibrating every second, with one hertz being one vibration per second.
Middle C is an important note because most piano courses begin instruction on this note. The frequency of Middle C is approximately 261HZ.
1. Brand Name
Your piano has 88 black and white keys with Middle C roughly in the middle of your piano. Your piano may have the brand name engraved above the keyboard, and this is most often directly above Middle C.
2. Arrangement of Keys
The black keys are arranged in groups of two and three. Find a group of two black keys, and the white key to the left is a ‘C’.
3. Scientific Name
The official name of Middle C is ‘C4’ because it is the fourth C from the bass (left) on an 88-key piano.
This diagram shows all the ‘Cs’ on a full piano of 88 keys. Your piano or keyboard may have 76 or 61 keys.
Now have some fun – go to your piano and find all the Cs including Middle C!
About Joanne Jolee
Joanne Jolee received her piano and music theory training through the Trinity College of Music, and Royal School of Music, and studied voice under Dame Sister Mary Leo at Saint Mary’s College in New Zealand.
Joanne toured with the band that included an original Turtles band member (Happy Together). In 1998 she formed a classical crossover band with three of her daughters, CJA, and in 2002 the band won the title, Arizona’s Best Pop Band.
Joanne is the Executive Director of the Jolee-Jaffa Music Foundation, Inc. and a passionate advocate for the power of music to heal and empower children and adults. She is the author of the piano method, Your Time to Play, and the creator of the Get Carried Away product line.
Joanne lives in Arizona with her husband, has five adult children (all musicians) and 6 grandchildren. She is a lifelong sailor and internationally licensed yacht helmsman.