What is the “main note” of music? How do we play it on piano?

The “main note” of music — if we had to pick one — would be Middle C.  This is even more certainly true for the piano.  Here are a few reasons why:

1          As mentioned above, C Major is the “easiest” key to play in on the piano; and c is — again, if we had to pick one — the most important single note in the key of C Major.

2          Middle C is easily found on the piano, which we’ll be doing in just a moment.

3          Middle C is roughly in the middle of all of human speaking, and our hearing is naturally attuned to pitch-ranges most of us speak in.  Infants, children, grown women, and grown men can all “speak” or sing Middle C — even if, for certain lower-voiced men, it is somewhat difficult.  There is no one with normal hearing who cannot hear Middle C.  Therefore, whether by design or not, it’s no surprise that such a pitch has been placed in a very physically convenient place on the keyboard.

4          Middle C could be described as the “offshoot” note from which all other notes, scales, keys, chords, melodies — almost every musical element relating to pitch — are built.  This is more of a theoretical “decision” than it is the result of some special attribute of the “sound” of Middle C; after all, it’s just 261.63 Hz.  What’s so special about that?  Nothing, compared to other notes, keys, etc.  In fact, they all work exactly the same way; it’s just that some are “higher” while others are “lower.”  Only the most sensitive (or highly trained) musicians particularly care about the “sound” of one key over another . . .  but . . . when we’re thinking about notes, keys, etc., and especially the way they relate to one another, Middle C is an unparalleled point of reference.

5          Even music notation — which, admittedly, should be presented in accordance with music theory — is “built from” Middle C.  This means Middle C has an important — literally, central — position in the visual representation of music, particularly on the staff, which we’ll learn about in just a moment.

Okay, Middle C is great.  So how do we find it and play it?

Well, take a look at the piano.  Hopefully you’re nearby one right now.  You can compare it to the chart below . . . or just use the chart, which should be enough.