One of the first things any piano instructor will teach a student is where the middle C on the piano keyboard is. This is where many songs will start, it’s right in the center of the piano, and it’s quite important to know.
The reason it is called the middle C is because there are more than one C note on a piano keyboard. Piano keyboards feature all of the notes on the musical scale in various octaves.
For instance, an 88 key piano keyboard features a total of 7 octaves, with each octave containing each note on the musical scale.
The white keys are the normal notes, and the black keys represent the flats and sharps. If you don’t have your own piano tutor, you might be confused as to what this middle C is and where it is located. So, where is this middle C?
Octaves and Piano Keyboards
The first important thing to learn is how many keys a normal piano has and how many octaves are featured on each piano. Generally speaking, pianos usually come with 88 keys, and these are divided into 7 octaves. Each octave will feature 7 white keys and 5 black keys.
Therefore, if you are wondering where one octave ends and the other begins, it’s a simple counting job. Remember that on an 88 key piano, the first two keys on the left are A and B, with the third key being C. Therefore, start at the third key on the left, the C, and then count 7 keys to the right, this will be the next C. The order is CDEFGAB, and this will repeat itself from one side of the keyboard to the other.
On a standard 88 key piano, start at the third key (C) and count 7 keys to the right. This is the first octave, the next 7 keys are the second octave, and so on. This will help you determine where the middle C on the piano is.
Location of the Middle C on an 88 Key Piano
Based on what we discussed above, finding the middle C on a standard 88 key piano is easy. A standard 88 key piano will have 8 C’s. The middle C is going to be the fourth C from the left.
Therefore, start at the third key on the left, the first C, and then count 7 keys to the right to get to the second C, another 7 keys to get to the third C, and then another 7 keys to the right to get to the fourth C, also known as the middle C.
Simply put, on an 88 key piano, the middle C is the fourth C from the left. However, keep in mind that not all piano keyboards have 88 keys. There are some variations, so let’s take a look at those next.
Location of the Middle C on Other Keyboards (Not Standard 88 Key Pianos)
Let’s quickly go over 3 other piano keyboard layouts and configurations to let you know where the middle C on each of these is.
76 Key Piano
On a 76 key piano, the first 5 notes on the left are EFGAB, with the 6th key being the first C note. These piano keyboards feature a total of 6 C notes. The middle C on a 76 key piano is the third C from the left, but remember to start at key #6, as this is the first C. So, start at key #6, the first C, and the count 14 keys to the right from the left, and this will be the middle C.
61 Key Piano
On a 61 key piano, the first note on the left is a C. These keyboards feature a total of 5 octaves with a total of 6 C notes. The middle C on a 61 key piano is also the third C from the left. Count 14 keys over from the very left key, and this will be the middle C.
49 Key Piano
On a 49 key piano, the first note on the left is a C. These keyboards feature a total of 4 octaves with a total of 5 C notes. The middle C on a 49 key piano is the third C from the left. In other words, count 14 keys over from the very left key, and this is the middle C.
Knowing where the middle C on your piano is should be one of the first things that you learn when you are learning to play piano. It’s an important fundamental that every piano player needs to be familiar with.