Piano Exercises Accidentals - Getting To Know Your Flats

A flat lowers a note one semitone downward. Example – the black key next to the B is a B-flat.

By now you may have wondered and guessed that a flat could also be a sharp. And you are correct. The B-flat is also an A-sharp. The same rule applies to the rest of the notes on the keyboard.

When you encounter a black key, it is a sharp for the higher note next to it and a flat for the lower note next to it. Listed below is a short list of examples to make things a bit clearer for us all.

C-sharp = D-flat

F-sharp = G-flat

G-sharp = A-flat

A-sharp = B-flat

Now let’s practice an easy one from the hundreds of piano exercises available to choose from.

Position your middle finger on E and index finger on E-flat. Play E with the middle finger then E-flat with the index finger.

Then press your thumb on D, and swing your index finger over the thumb to hit D-flat.

Go on to play the notes B, B-flat, A, A-flat, G, and G-flat using the same fingering. Then try the exercise with your left hand.

The second of the piano exercises we can try that will help us familiarize ourselves with the ‘flats’ is the scale of F-major.

The scale of F-major is made up of F, G, A, B-flat, C, D and E. In the beginning as we are still unfamiliar with playing the black keys it is normal to miss the B-flat. Keep telling yourself that there is a B-flat in the scale and you have to hit the black key near B.

Start with the thumb on F. To play B-flat use your fourth finger, then swing your thumb under the fourth finger to hit C. You should end the exercise on F on the next higher octave with the fourth finger.

Now for something a bit more challenging. Can you handle piano exercises that has 2 black keys in it?

Place your index finger on B-flat and middle finger C. Play the 2 notes consecutively then swing your thumb under the fingers to play C. Use the index finger to hit E-flat.

To complete the phrase, use your middle finger to play F and G with the fourth finger. Swing your thumb under the fingers to hit A and end it on B-flat with the index finger.

This is the scale of B-flat major. It has 2 flats in it, B-flat and E-flat. Program your brain to hit those two black keys firmly and accurately by practising this scale.

Next, try the exercise with your left hand. Start with the middle finger on B-flat. The left fourth finger should play E-flat and you should end the scale on the B-flat one octave higher with the index finger.

Look at the keyboard to see all the black keys. Randomly play any black key. While playing, name the flat and the sharp that black key represent. Can you remember them all?

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