A truly unique scale with a unique fingering: the B scale! I’m excited to teach you everything there is to know about playing a b scale on the piano today. This scale has 5 sharps and may challenge you in a way you haven’t been challenged yet. Are you ready?
What is the B scale on piano?
The B scale, simply put, is a major scale that both starts and ends on the note “B.” It follows the typical pattern of half steps and whole steps that builds a major scale. And with that, we end up with a whopping 5 sharps! Yep, this is the white key scale with the MOST black notes in it. But don’t let that scare you—you can do it!
What Notes Are In The B Scale?
The notes in a B scale are as follows: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, and finally A#. I’ll show you diagrams and sheet music with these notes soon.
BEFORE You Begin
Stop! Before you learn the B scale, it is important that you already know 5 other scales. These other scales are easier to learn, so think of them as the “prerequisite.”
If B is the first scale you are learning, you will be better off if you stop reading this post and go learn those other scales instead. Each one of those scales progressively gets more sharps until we get to B.
If you already know those ones, then you’re all good to keep reading!
B Scale Piano Notes & Fingerings
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get right into the details about the B 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.
How to Play the B Scale on the Piano
To play the B scale on the piano, press down each note shown in the diagram above, starting with the B on the far left and working your way to the B 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).
Pay very close attention to the fingering. The right hand is the same as the other white key scales, but the left hand is not.
Because the left hand is so different, I thought I would walk you through it step by step.
For the new left hand, start with your FOURTH FINGER on B. I know this will feel very strange, but it is the correct method. Press down on B with finger 4, then play C# with your 3, D# with your 2, and E with your 1.
Now it is time to cross. Cross your FOURTH FINGER over your thumb and onto F#. After this, reposition your hand and play your 3 on G#, 2 on A#, and 1 on B to end.
And there you’ve made it up a B scale with a weird left hand fingering! Practice this several times utnil you get used it.
If you’re wondering if there’s a reason behind this fingering, there IS. If you try playing the L.H. B scale normally, you’ll see that it just doesn’t work. The placement of the notes with more sharps simply keeps the normal fingering from working.
So, this is what we get instead. Think of it as two groups of 4 in the left hand. This is what has helped me the most.
B Major Scale On The Staff
If you prefer reading music, here is what the B scale looks like in both treble and bass clef. You’ll want to practice each hand separately until you have each one down super well. Make sure to practice the left hand even more than normal before you try playing them at the same time!
Some Scale Tips
If you are trying out the B scale and still having trouble because its so different, here are a few more tips to help.
Think of this scale in terms of white notes. It’s kind of funny, but the more black notes you have, the easier it becomes to just remember what white notes are in the scale. For B, you just have to remember B and E. Those are the only two white notes!
Again, think of groups and patterns. All of the black keys are being used, so we have two groups of them. A group of two before the finger crossing, and a group of 3 afterward.
Practice slowly, don’t rush. This may sound obvious, but the slower you go the more successful you’ll be on your first try. Rushing often causes tightness in the hands and missed notes. We don’t want either of these things! So start slow and work up the pace gradually.
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 B major:
- Tonic: B
- Major 2nd: C#
- Major 3rd: D#
- Perfect 4th: E
- Perfect 5th: F#
- Major 6th: G#
- Major 7th: A#
- Perfect 8th: B
Another way to look at a scale is by “degrees.” Here are the scale degrees for the key of B:
- Tonic: B
- Supertonic: C#
- Mediant: D#
- Subdominant: E
- Dominant: F#
- Submediant: G#
- Leading tone: A#
- Octave: B
Triad Chords In The Key Of B
Did you know a chord can also be built off of EVERY note in the B scale? That’s right! It is a great exercise to practice finding these chords in each key. For B there will be quite a few more advanced chords due to the many sharps. But just take it slowly and learn one at a time! (Tips for memorizing piano chords here).
Chord I: B major (notes are B – D# – F#)
Chord ii: C# minor (notes are C# – E – G#)
Chord iii: D# minor (notes are D# – F# – A#)
Chord IV: E major (notes are E – G# – B)
Chord V: F# major (notes are F# – A# – C#)
Chord vi: G# minor (notes are G# – B – D#)
Chord vii: A# diminished (notes are A# – C# – E)
Is B major sad or angry?
No, B major is not sad or angry. It is a more mellow major scale, but it definitely still has a happy tone since it is major!
Is B Major The Same As G# Minor?
G# minor is not the exact same key as B major, but it is called the “relative minor.” All major keys have relative minors! This basically just means they have the same number of sharps in the key signature.
Scales To Learn Next:
Once you’re done learning the B scale, you can move on to more difficult scales with flats and sharps! Here’s a master list you can work through one by one. These are not in chronological order, but rather in order I recommend you learn them.
- F Major Scale
- Db Major Scale
- F# Major Scale
- Eb Major Scale
- Ab Major Scale
- Bb Major Scale
- Gb Major Scale
- C# Major Scale
More Music Theory:
- How Many Beats Are in a Whole Note
- Learn the Order of Flats & Sharps
- G# Major Chord
- D# Major Chord
- C# Major Chord
The B scale is a bit harder to learn due to the new fingering. But it is still a very good scale to know! After you master B, there is just one more white key scale to learn before moving onto the black key scales. Woohoo! You are doing such a great job, so keep practicing until the B scale is easy!