The last of the black key scale group 2: Bb major! The Bb major scale contains only 2 flats. I’ll teach you everything you need to know about this scale and give you all my best tips and tricks for mastering it!
What is the Bb scale in piano?
The Bb scale, simply put, is a major scale that both starts and ends on the note “B flat.” It follows the typical pattern of half steps and whole steps that builds a major scale. Following this pattern starting on Bb, we get a scale with 2 black notes and 5 white notes. It is the black key scale with the LEAST amount of black notes.
What are the notes in a Bb major scale?
The notes in a Bb scale are as follows: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, and finally A. I’ll show you diagrams and sheet music with these notes soon.
BEFORE You Begin
The Bb scale is considered an intermediate piano scale, so you don’t want to start with it if you are a beginner! If you are just starting to learn scales, you’ll want to learn white key scales first. Here’s a list you can refer to:
Once you learn the white key scales, you can move on to the 2 different groups of black key scales.
So make sure you learn all those other scales before moving forward!
B Flat Scale Piano Notes & Fingerings
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get right into the details about the B flat scale! Below you can start looking at the notes in the scale on a piano diagram. You will also find the fingerings for both right and left hand underneath, with x’s representing finger crosses.
How to Play the Bb Scale on the Piano
To play the B flat scale on the piano, press down each note shown in the diagram above, starting with the Bb on the far left and working your way to the Bb on the far right. Each note should be played as its own distinct note, yet still connected (don’t blur them together, but also don’t play them too short).
As far as fingering goes, Bb has its easier and more tricky parts. The left hand is the easy part—the fingering is the same as most of the other black key scales (like Eb, Ab, and Db!)
For the right hand, you’re going to start with your 3 on Bb, and then immediately cross your 1 under to C. Reposition your hand and play 2 on D and 3 on Eb. Now that we’re on another black key, we have to cross again. Tuck your thumb under and play 1 on F, 2 on G, 3 on A, and finally, 4 on Bb.
And there you made it all the way up the Bb scale! Make sure you practice each hand separately well before you try putting hands together.
Bb Major Scale On The Staff
It is always a good idea to look at scales on the staff, rather than just relying on the piano. Below you can see the Bb major scale both on treble clef and bass clef.
Some Scale Tips
By this time, you’ve learned a lot of scales. But just in case Bb is still giving you a bit of trouble, let’s talk about the usual tips.
Pay attention to the black keys and their finger crosses. Since there are only 2 flats in Bb, we really want to focus on those notes, and the fingers that play on them. Here’s a trick that can help: the right hand always plays 4 on Bb and 3 on Eb. Whereas, the left hand is the opposite, always playing 3 on Bb and 4 on Eb.
Look at the groupings. Recognizing the way the notes are grouped together can really help with black key scales. In the case of Bb, we have a group of 3 notes and then a group of 4 notes. A black note starts at the beginning of each group, with white notes following.
Keep your arm and wrist loose, not tight. I haven’t said this in awhile, so I thought now was a good time to reiterate. With all the finger crosses in black key scales, a loose arm and wrist is essential. Let them help you rather than just using your fingers! A small bouncing motion is usually what I do. This will improve the sound but also your technique when playing scales.
All major scales follow a formula as far as intervals go. Here is this formula: W-W-H-W-W-W-H. The W’s stand for “whole step” and the H’s stand for “half step.
So written out the long way, the formula is: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step.
You can use this formula any time to figure out a major scale!
When you use this formula, it also creates a relationship between the tonic (the very first note) and all the other notes. An interval can be formed between the tonic and each note of the scale. Here’s what that looks like for Bb major:
- Tonic: Bb
- Major 2nd: C
- Major 3rd: D
- Perfect 4th: Eb
- Perfect 5th: F
- Major 6th: G
- Major 7th: A
- Perfect 8th: Bb
Another way to look at a scale is by “degrees.” Here are the scale degrees for the key of Bb:
- Tonic: Bb
- Supertonic: C
- Mediant: D
- Subdominant: Eb
- Dominant: F
- Submediant: G
- Leading tone: A
- Octave: Bb
Triad Chords In The Key Of Bb
Did you know a chord can also be built off of EVERY note in the Bb scale? That’s right! It is a great exercise to practice finding these chords in each key. For Bb it is pretty easy since there are only 2 flats to keep track of.
Chord I: Bb major (notes are F – A – C)
Chord ii: C minor (notes are G – Bb – D)
Chord iii: D minor (notes are A – C – E)
Chord IV: Eb major (notes are Bb – D – F)
Chord V: F major (notes are C – E – G)
Chord vi: G minor (notes are D – F – A)
Chord vii: A diminished (notes are E – G – Bb)
Is Bb Major Same As G Minor?
Bb major is not the same key as G minor, but it does have the same amount of sharps! G minor is known as the relative minor to Bb major. Major and minor keys all have relatives! This simply refers to which major and minor keys have the same amount of sharps or flats.
How do you write a B-flat major scale?
That’s a great question! You can write a Bb major scale in 1 of two ways. The first way is to copy down the scale from the diagram I showed you earlier—writing each note in succession, with the relevant flats next to them.
The second way is to write the key signature on the far left, and then write the notes on the staff without accidentals.
Either way works! So grab some sheet music and a pencil, and you can get started! It is a great idea to practice not only playing your scales but notating them as well.
Is B flat same as B major?
No, the key of B flat is very different from the key of B. B flat refers to a black note right underneath the key of B, while the key of B is a white note.
Scales To Learn Next:
Congratulations, you can now play all of your piano scales! You are doing such a great job. While you don’t have any more scales to play, there are a few more scales you can learn about from a mental standpoint: the enharmonic equivalents to the scales you already know.
More Music Theory:
You can also move on from scales and simply start learning some other aspects of music theory. Like chords! Here are some black key chords that you should definitely know:
The B flat scale is easy to learn with only 2 flats—and especially if you’ve already learned all the other black key scales! But don’t get comfortable now. Keep practicing Bb until you have it mastered. And make sure you’re playing your scales as a warm up before you start practicing other piano songs. Overall, scales will work wonders for your piano technique, as well as for your music theory knowledge!