Take the 2-minute tour ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This is probably a really stoopid question but.....I'm trying to learn to play a virtual keyboard online(Virtual Piano) but its really hard to use the black keys since you need to press Shift+(another key). I thought I read somewhere that each black key has an equivalent sound in some white key or that all western music is in the diatonic scale which doesnt need black keys so I'm wondering if I can learn to play existing music without using the black keys?

share|improve this question
    
You most definitely cannot play anything beyond extremely basic music without the black keys. –  Pat Muchmore Jul 26 at 17:34
1  
A lot of popular music can be transposed (meaning you shift the pitch up or down from how it was originally written) into C major or A minor and played entirely or almost entirely on the white keys. You'd be far better off just picking up a cheap toy keyboard, though. –  tgies Jul 26 at 23:02
    
check this out youtube.com/watch?v=s8De5eg1kic –  wim Jul 27 at 2:00

1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You can play any diatonic or modal melodies on white keys only, but anything beyond extremely basic harmonies will require the use of more than seven pitch classes (ABDCEFG).

Of course, a virtual piano played on a computer keyboard is extremely limited to begin with, so perhaps playing melodies is all you're interested in.

To play a diatonic or modal melody on white keys only, you will need to identify the key signature of that melody, and then transpose the notes up or down a number of half steps until they all lie on white keys. If the melody has any chromaticism, or deviation from the key signature using accidentals, this may not be possible.

If the key signature has one flat, for example, you would transpose down five half steps. Two flats and you would transpose up two half steps. Three flats, down three half steps, four flats, up four half steps. See if you can catch the pattern. For sharps, reverse the direction of transposition.

share|improve this answer
    
true, basic melodies is what im currently interested in. I have seen people playing simple version of the Titanic song, Requiem for a Dream etc on Youtube with this software using only white keys. –  user1278255 Jul 27 at 1:43
    
im too much of a newbie to understand key signatures and transposing yet though. i'll look into it in more detail on google. or maybe someone has given an even more indepth answer on this site. –  user1278255 Jul 27 at 1:45

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.