B major: A Guide to the Scale and Chords

By Jade Bultitude
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B Major Key Signature in Treble Clef

In our last scale page, we investigated the scale of E major. Remember, E major had four sharps in its key signature, F sharp, C sharp, G sharp and D sharp! Today I would like to visit the understanding of B major! Why?

Let’s think about where B major is on the circle of fifths. (We have a complete guide to the circle of fifths I you want more on this crazy useful diagram).

circle of fifths, complete, scale names, key signatures, treble clef

The next scale on the circle of fifths after E major is B major! B major is five tones up from E major, making this the fifth sharp scale on the circle!  

B major, B major scale, major scale

As mentioned in our C major blog, major scales always follow the same pattern of tones and semitones (steps and half steps)

This is as follows:

Tone, Tone, Semi-tone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semi-tone

Whichever note you start on, you will always achieve the major scale starting on this note.

The B major scale is simply this pattern but starting on the note B

B major scale, major scale, major scale pattern, piano

As you can see, if we were to play this scale on the piano we make use of five black keys.  

What does this scale look like on the stave?

The pitches of the scale are as follows:  B C# D# E F# G# A#  

B major scale, treble clef, alto clef, tenor clef, bass clef, B major

Rather than writing the sharp signs on the individual notes, we can now make use of the key signature. Because every single F, C, G, D and A in B major is sharp, we can simply write this at the start of the piece! 

What do we mean when we say a piece is ‘in the key of b’?

If we say that a piece of music is in the key of B, this means a few things:

  • The key signature will have five sharps, these being F sharp, C sharp, G sharp, D sharp and A sharp!
  • The tonic (or home note) of the piece will be B! This note will sound the most stable in the whole piece
  • The piece will use notes only from this scale, these could be in any octave. 
  • The chords used will be those chords that are in B major

Learn about Any Scale!

Want to learn about another scale? We have a selection of Guides for Scales and Chords to make you a pro at music theory.

what are the chords of b major?

When writing out chords we always use Roman Numerals so it is important to make sure you are familiar with the Roman Numerals up to seven!

Here are the chords of B major:

I – B major, Tonic Chord

II – C# minor, Supertonic Chord

III – D# minor, Mediant Chord

IV – E major, Subdominant chord

V – F# major, Dominant chord

Vi – G# minor, Sub median chord

Vii – A# diminished chord, leading note chord

what are the notes in these chords?

I – B major chord – B, D#, F#

B major, Chord I, Chord 1

ii – C# minor chord – C#, E, G#

B major, Chord II, Chord 2, C sharp

iii – D# minor chord – D#, F#, A#

B major, Chord III, Chord 3, D sharp

IV – E major chord – E, G#,BE

B major, Chord IV, Chord 4, E natural

V – F# major chord – F#, A#, C#

B major, Chord V, Chord 5, F sharp

vi – G# minor chord – G#, B, D#

B major, Chord vi, Chord 6, G sharp

Viio – A# Diminished chord – A#, C#, E

B major, Chord VII, Chord 7, A sharp

why are some of these chords labelled in lower case?

Chords are usually written in two different ways

Capital for MAJOR Chords

Lowercase for MINOR Chords

Songs in B Major

Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song

Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Michael Jackson – Thriller

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AUTHOR
Jade is an experienced musician and teacher as well as being the founder of Music Theory Foundations. She has been helping people learn music theory for more than 10 years from pre school children all the way to degree level studies.