Piano Exercises Accidentals - Getting To Know Your Sharps

A sharp raises a note one semitone upward. Example – the black key next to the middle C is a C-sharp.

You may ask, what about D? There are 2 black keys next to it, one on the lower side and another on the upper side.

Well, that is a good question. The black key next to the D on the upper side is the D-sharp.And the black key on the lower side is the D-flat. More on flats later.

The same rule applies to the rest of the notes on the keyboard as well except for a few special cases, which we will discuss later.

Now let’s practice an easy routine from so many piano exercises available to choose from.

Position your right thumb on middle C and middle finger on C-sharp. Play C with the thumb then C-sharp with the middle finger.

Then swing your thumb under the middle finger to play D. Use the middle finger to play D-sharp.

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

The second of the piano exercises I wish to introduce here that will help us familiarize ourselves with the ‘sharps’ is the scale of G-major.

The scale of G-major is made up of G, A, B, C, D, E, F-sharp and G. By practising the scale of G-major we can develop our fluency in locating and playing F-sharp accurately.

I am sure you already know what fingering to use. But I will give you a hint anyway – start with the thumb on G (freshen your memory on how to practise scales, read the article here). Then play it with your left hand, start with the left pinkie on G.

By practising the scale of G major you will soon feel that the F-sharp is like your best friend. No more mis-hitting that black key.

Now let’s try something a little bit more advanced. Do not worry, none of the piano exercises written here is meant to overwhelm you, relax.

Place your thumb on D, index finger on E and the middle finger on F-sharp. Swing your thumb underneath the fingers to play G. Your fourth finger should play C-sharp and end the exercise on D with the pinkie.

This is the scale of D major. It has 2 sharps in it, F-sharp and C-sharp. Play the scale using the fingering mentioned above. Practise until your middle finger and fourth finger can hit the F-sharp and C-sharp respectively without hesitation.

Next, try the exercise with your left hand. Start with the pinkie on D. The left middle finger should play F-sharp and the index finger should play C-sharp.

Finally, scan the length of the keyboard. Hit any black key you want. Use any fingering you are comfortable with. When you do so name the notes you have hit out loud.

Can you name the sharps correctly?

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