How to Find Middle C on the Piano

How to Always Locate the Piano's Middle C

Middle C on the grand staff
Middle C on the treble & bass staves. Image © Brandy Kraemer, 2015

You’re going to hear a lot about middle C (also called C4), so it’s important to know how to find it. The area around middle C will be the starting point for many piano songs, and it’s also a general border between keys played with the left hand, and keys played with the right hand.

Find Middle C on the Piano

To find middle C on your keyboard, position yourself at the center of the piano. The middle C will be the closest C to the middle of the keyboard.

Try It: Locate and play the middle C on your keyboard (check your location here); take note of how many black key groups precede it to help you remember.

Finding Middle C on an Electric Keyboard

Some keyboards have fewer than 88 keys, so locating C4 can be confusing. But you can easily locate it by counting the C’s on your keyboard. Start from the left-hand side, and use the following guidelines based on your keyboard size:

  • 88-key – Middle C is the fourth C you count.
  • 76-key – Is the third C.
  • 61-key – Is the third C.
  • 49-key – Is the third C.

If you’re unsure about the size of your keyboard, you can simply count both its naturals and accidentals. You can also find your keyboard’s size by counting the total amount of C’s:

  • 88-key – You will count eight C’s (including the very last key on the board).
  • 76-key – Has six C’s.
  • 61-key – Has six C’s (including the very last key).
  • 49-key – Has five C’s (including the very last key).

    Consult the Illustrated Middle C Guides for a visual example of C4 on each of the above keyboard sizes.


    Continue This Lesson:

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    Reading Piano Music

     ▪  Sheet Music Symbol Library
     ▪  How to Read Piano Notation
     ▪  Memorize the Staff Notes
     ▪  Illustrated Piano Chords
     ▪  Tempo Commands Organized By Speed

    Beginner Piano Lessons

     ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
     ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
     ▪  Intro to Piano Fingering
     ▪  How to Count Triplets
     ▪  Musical Quizzes & Tests

    Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments

     ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
     ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
     ▪  Buying a Used Piano
     ▪  Tips for Finding the Right Piano Teacher

    Forming Piano Chords

     ▪  Chord Types & Their Symbols
     ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
     ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
     ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
     ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords