Are you ready to learn how to play the B major chord on the piano? Maybe you think you’re ready but you’re a little scared because you know B major is a little different than all the other white key chords…
A lot of students do tend to shy away from B major. The truth is sometimes it does take a little bit longer to learn. Unlike most of the other white key major chords, B major has 2 sharps rather than just 1 or 0.
HOWEVER – while a B chord may take longer to get used to, it really isn’t hard to learn. Once you learn the notes and fingerings (and practice it for a few days) it will be a breeze.
In this post, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the B chord—I’ve got you covered with keyboard diagrams, fingering help, tips on inversions, and more.
What is a B Major Chord on piano?
First of all, let’s talk about what a B major chord actually IS. Maybe you read that last section and had no idea what I was talking about.
If so, that is totally fine. Let me tell you now – a B major chord is basically just a chord in the family of major chords, made up of 3 notes in what’s called a triad. It is formed the same as any other major chord – by building a major third and then a minor third on top of that. If that sounds tricky, don’t worry. The diagrams and tips I’ll give you will make it very easy!
How to Play a B Piano Chord
You will play a B major chord simply by pressing down the 3 notes in the triad simultaneously. See below for a diagram on which notes are included.
Notes in a B Chord
In it’s simplest form (root position) the B chord includes 3 notes: B, D#, and F#. Yes, there are 2 sharps in this chord. It’s a little different from the other major chords, but that’s just because it’s special! 😉
Anyhow, the B is the root of the chord, the D# the major third, and the F# the perfect fifth. Below you can see b major on the keyboard!
Let’s talk a little more about finding these notes if you’re a beginner at playing piano.
Which Key is B on the Piano?
First of all, you want to start by finding what’s called the root of the chord – the note on the bottom. In this case, that note is obviously B.
To find B on the piano, just go directly below any C. There are no black notes between C and B.
Another way you can think of it is that B is directly above the 3 black notes. Hopefully one of these methods will stick in your memory so you can always find B easily.
Finding D# and F# on the piano
After finding B, you’ll need to find the two sharps in this chord. While this may seem intimidating, just take your time.
The first thing to remember is that these 3 notes will all be a 3rd apart as far as intervals go. To find them, follow these steps:
- Find D# by first going up 2 WHITE notes from B. Then, go up one black note directly to the right. There is D#!
- Find F# simply by skipping over to the next black note directly to the right of D#. There will be 2 white notes in between these two sharps.
B Chord Piano Finger Position
Once you know WHERE the notes are, it’s time to learn which fingers to put on them! Yes, fingering is always very important when playing the piano, even for simple chords like this. I know it can seem tedious in the beginning, but practicing fingerings now will help you in the future!
The nice thing is that the fingerings for major chords are always the same. Yes, even for B! Even though the B chord uses two sharps, the fingering is still the same as other major chords.
Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1
Don’t forget that finger 1 is your thumb, finger 3 your middle finger, and finger 5 your pinky.
More Piano Chords to Learn
B Chord Inversions
Don’t stop after you know the basic B chord – you can now learn how to play B chord inversions on the piano!
B inversions can feel a little tricky at first, especially if you’re used to the feeling of chord inversions with 1 or 0 sharps. However, this shouldn’t scare you away! B may take a little more time to get used to, but you can totally do it.
By the way – if you’re unsure what inversions are, they are basically just the same notes, but mixed up into a different order. These types of chords are formed by taking the bottom note of the chord and putting it on the top. They are really not as hard as people make them out to be!
B/D# – First Inversion B Chord
B first inversion is also known as “B/D#” – the reason for this is the D# is on the bottom. As you can see below, you’ll flip the B from the bottom onto the top for first inversion.
Right Hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1
B/F# – Second Inversion B Chord
B second inversion is also known as B/F#, for the same reason as the previous inversion. In this chord, F# is on the bottom rather than B or D#.
Just take D# from first inversion and place it on the top to form second inversion! This one looks a little wonky and may feel a little wonky at first because you have a sharp on the bottom and the top. But I promise, it is correct!
Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5
I highly recommend you start practicing switching back and forth between the B inversions as you get used to them!
Playing the B chord in the left hand
After you learn the B chord and its inversions, you might begin to wonder how to play it in the left hand.
See, if you take the B chord or its inversions and play them on the low end of the piano, you might notice it doesn’t sound the best. It sounds kind of “thick”. You can’t hear the notes as clearly as when you play them up high.
So instead of just playing the chords in the left hand, I recommend experimenting with different voicings of the B chord.
This basically just means you will still play the main chord in your right hand…but then you will also play a bass note to go along with it in your left hand.
Here is an example of how you could play B chord split between the left AND right hand:
- Start by playing the regular root position B chord in your right hand
- Put any note you learned in the B chord down as a base note in the left hand. You can play a low B to make it root position, or you could play a low D# or F# to make it first/second inversion.
- Try experimenting with different note combos! You can change up the inversion in your right hand and the bass note in your left hand to get different sounds.
What are the chords in the key of B?
Good job – you’ve now learned quite a bit about the B chord! However, there is still so much that can be learned about the key of B in general. There are other chord that can go along WITH the B chord! In fact, a chord can be built off of each note in the B scale.
Here’s a quick list you can refer to:
vii: A# diminished
I know, there are a lot of sharp chords in that list! But if you start learning them one at a time, playing in the key of B will get easier and easier.
What chords go well with B?
Any of the chords listed above will go well with the B chord, because they are all in the same key signature (5 sharps). However, they will sound better if you play them in certain orders. This is called a chord progression.
Common Chord Progressions in the key of B
Playing chord progressions in the key of B will involve a lot of sharps! But don’t let that intimidate you. I recommend starting with the second chord progression listed, because this will just use one sharp chord (F# major)
- B – F# – G#m – E (I – V – vi – IV)
- B – E – F# (I – IV – V)
- C#m – F# – B (ii – V – I)
- B – E – F# – C#m (I – IV – V – ii)
I hope this post has helped grow your confidence in learning and playing the B major chord on the piano! It does take some extra practice, but I know you can do it. So what are you waiting for? Go sit down at the piano and start playing the simplest version of B. Then move onto inversions and voicings once you’ve got the sharps down.