Eating Your Way Through New Jersey: 5 Black and White Notes

So, Janet and I flew back to the Jersey shore to visit her family, all seven siblings, their children, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, dogs and cats, mosquitoes and fireflies, heat and thunderstorms. It’s a lot like going to Disney world in July. Families are very close back here, and they talk non-stop. And they eat non-stop. They have welcomed me into the family, which is why I can tease them.

Last night we gorged ourselves on scrumptious Italian food. I’m still smelling garlic this morning. All the girls are complaining that their feet are swollen because of all the salt in their food. I thought my chicken parm had too much pepper. Which brings me to the subject of this post: food tastes best with just the right balance of seasoning, especially white salt and black pepper. 

Wow, I just had an epiphany! Just like food, music sounds best with just the right balance of black and white (B&W) spices. Since we want our music to have the perfect balance of seasonings, we need to think of the piano keyboard as a smooth continuum of (B&W) notes. Fortunately, we can use the black keys, with their uniquely identifiable pattern, to guide us as we play through our continuum of B&W notes.

In our first lesson we familiarized ourselves with the black notes – arranged in a simple and useful set of two and three notes. By always keeping track of which black notes are under each of our fingers, we are never truly lost. So now we’re going to expand our keyboard familiarity to include the three white notes immediately below these two black notes – giving us an expanded set of five notes (three white and two black). 

Place your right hand on the group of two black notes. Now, just as we did in our first lesson, find the C, D and E notes beneath the two black notes. 

Our exercise for this lesson is simply to play these five B&W notes in any manner you wish – but I want you to concentrate on the sound and feel of these five notes. As you play each note, make a mental note of where in the group of five that not falls. For example: upper black note, middle white note, lower black note, upper white note… 

Listen to the audio for Lesson #2 and practice playing our group of five B&W notes.

Listen to the auditory Tutorial #2, B&W Notes here.


Additional posts in this series: