There are some differing opinions on which are the easiest keys to play on a piano, as the one that is easiest to learn is not necessarily the easiest one to play when it comes to the natural hand position on the keys.
The easiest keys to play on the piano are the keys of C Major or A Minor, as both have the same notes, although they have different tonal centers. These two keys only have the white keys on the piano in their scale, so they are the easiest to learn and play for beginners.
While C Major / A Minor is the easiest key in terms of reading music, theory, and visual approachability, many piano teachers feel that this is the hardest key to play in terms of the hand position and keys that have more black keys (sharps and flats) are ergonomically easier to play than C Major.
Why Is C Major Considered The Easiest Key To Play On A Piano
The C Major scale contains only the seven natural notes of C, D, E, F, G, A, and B before reaching the next octave and repeating the scale. The relative minor of C Major is A minor and both share the same notes.
For a beginner, it is much easier not to contend with the black keys, which represent the sharps and flats in music, and only focus on the white keys.
This is why most beginners learn C Major/A minor first, as it allows them to understand the keys and notes of the piano easily and with consistent visual reference to the notes on the keyboard. This paves the way for further expansion into the more complex keys.
Although the scale structure for all the different keys is the same, having an easier visual representation when learning the keyboard helps to make things much easier.
With learning the key of C, a beginner only focuses on the white keys. And that makes it quite easy to understand.
After gaining some experience on Key C, you can check out our article on some of the easiest worship songs you can play on the piano. There are many songs on this list in the Key of C to get you started.
The Major And Relative Minor Keys In Music
Before we look at the easiest keys to play and the hardest ones, you need to understand that each major key has a relative minor key. These two keys contain the same notes but start from different tonal centers.
For the key of C Major, the relative minor key is A Minor, so these are the easiest two keys to play on the piano.
Finding The Easiest Keys Using The Circle Of Fifths In Music
The easiest way to find the easiest keys on the piano is by using the concept of the “Circle of Fifths”.
Explaining this music concept in detail is beyond the scope of this article. However, here is a short video that will teach you to find the easiest keys to learn on the piano.
If everything in this video sounds a little too complicated, don’t worry. I’ll give you
G Major and F Major are the Second Easiest Keys to Play on a Piano
When we look at the circle of fifths, to the right of C Major is G Major with its relative as E Minor, and this key only has one sharp (or one black key) in the key signature.
To the left of the C Major position on the circle lies F Major with the relative D minor, which only has one flat note in the key signature.
When compared to C Major, the F Major key has the Bb note instead of the natural B note which appears in the C Major key, which means you only have to remember that instead of playing B, you are playing the Bb or A# note in the legend.
So the natural notes of F Major or D minor are F, G, A, Bb, C, D, and E.
When we look at G Major and E Minor, we can see that this key has the F# note instead of the natural F note that appears in the C Major scale, so you only need to remember that one note changes when playing this key.
So the natural notes of G Major or E minor are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#
What Are The Third Easiest Keys To Play On The Piano
Using the circle of fifths and advancing further, we can see that the next easiest four keys (major and relative minor) are Bb Major and D Major, which have two flats and two sharps, respectively.
The Bb major key’s relative minor is G minor, while the D Major’s relative minor is B Minor.
These keys and their relative minors would be the next easiest to play as they only have two flats/ sharps (or two black notes) in their scale. Once you master C Major, F Major, and G Major, the Bb Major and D Major will be the next keys you would find easier to learn.
The notes on the Bb Major (or G minor) scale are Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, and A. And the notes on the D Major (or B minor) Scale are D, E, F# G, A, B, and C#
What Is The Hardest Key To Play On The Piano
Moving through the circle of fifths, we come to the key with the most sharp notes, C #, with the relative minor being A#/Db.
With no less than SEVEN sharps, this key would be the hardest to play and remember.
The second most difficult key would be F#, with the D# minor as the relative minor key. This key has six sharps in the major key and six flats in the minor key.
For a beginner, these two keys may seem quite difficult. However, after you gain some experience playing the piano, you’ll realize that C# and F# are two of the nicest and most enjoyable keys to play. And they are two of my favorite keys to play.
Which Key Is The Easiest For Beginners To Play
From the discussion above, the C Major / A Minor key would be easiest to play as you can sit down at the piano and start plinking away without any real concern about the black keys.
Because there are so many songs from all genres written in this key, beginners can jam along with some of these and enjoy playing along without any fears of going off-key. This is a great way to create enjoyment without memorizing any music theory.
Regarding which key is easiest to play in natural hand positions, some believe that keys like E Major / C# Minor keys are easier than the C Major scale, and Chopin himself thought that the C Major key was the hardest one.
Many beginners will start with the natural key as it is an easier transition into piano than those with more sharps/ flats, but they could find that keys like E Major are easier on the hands.
With music, there is no one absolute way, and while the consensus is that the C Major / A Minor keys are the easiest, there are many that follow the idea that this key is not the easiest from an ergonomic perspective.
Starting with the natural key is easier as it forms the fundamental structure for all keys, leading to an easier transition and understanding of music over time.
Hi, I’m Raymond. A keyboard player, music producer, and writer. And I’m also the founder of this blog. As someone who has been working with several audio and music equipment and different musicians for many years, my goal is to answer all your questions on music and equipment, as well as the latest music software and technology. For more info, check out my about me page