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Play the B Major Scale: Piano Tutorial with Video

By Jesse Preis

Learn all about the B major scale on piano, including its notes, chords, finger positions, relative minor, and fun songs in the key of B major!

The notes of the B major scale

Chopin considered the key of B major to be the easiest for beginners to learn because the black keys naturally fit the hand. He considered C major the most difficult to play because there were no black keys. Due to this, he would normally teach his students the B major key first and C major last. Let’s take a look at this scale and see if he was right!

The scale of B major starts on B and has five sharps in its key signature. The notes of the B major scale are B – C# – D# – E – F# – G# – A#.

Notes of the B major scale

The B major key signature

The key signature for B major has five sharps, written in the following order on the staff: F sharp, C sharp, G sharp, D sharp, A sharp. Here’s a useful tip to help you know what key you’re in when a key signature has sharps. Find the last sharp in the key signature, and then go up one half step. That will be the tonic, the first note of the scale, and the name of the key signature. If you look at the key signature below, the last sharp is A sharp. One half step up from A sharp is B. This is the key of B major.

B major key signature on treble staff

The relative minor of B major

In music theory, every major scale has a relative minor scale. Both use the same key signature, but the relative minor starts on the sixth note (or degree) of its relative major scale. So the relative minor of the B major scale is G-sharp minor.

The key of B major is known for its expressive and contemplative qualities. It often evokes a sense of introspection, tenderness, and sometimes even a touch of melancholy.

Context for the B major scale on piano

For piano players, B major can be more challenging due to its five sharps, but it can also offer a unique, beautiful sound and tonality. The quality of this key signature is often described as “glowing.”

Playing the B major scale on piano

You can watch the video above to see the B major piano scale played by Mr. Hoffman! 

To play the B major scale on the piano as a Pentascale (using only the bottom five notes of the scale), your hands don’t have to move at all.

B major pentascale for the right hand:

1 (thumb) on B
2 on C-sharp
3 on D-sharp
4 on E
5 (pinky) on F-sharp

B major pentascale for the left hand:

5 (pinky) on B
4 on C-sharp
3 on D-sharp
2 on E
1 (thumb) on F-sharp

To play the B major one octave scale, start with your fingers in the same position as the pentascale and play like this:

Right hand placement for the B major piano scale:

1 (thumb) on B
2 on C sharp
3 on D sharp
Cross thumb under:
1 on E
2 on F sharp
3 on G sharp
4 on A sharp
5 (pinky) on B

Right hand fingering for the B major scale

Left hand placement for the B major piano scale: 

– One important thing to note about B major is that the left hand does NOT start with finger 5 (pinky), but finger 4 (ring finger) instead.

4 on B
3 on C sharp
2 on D sharp
1 (thumb) on E
Cross finger four over:
4 on F sharp
3 on G sharp
2 on A sharp
1 on B

B major scale left hand fingering

When coming down the scale, reverse the finger order like this:

Right hand:

5 (pinky) on B
4 on A sharp
3 on G sharp
2 on F sharp
1 (thumb) on E
Cross finger three over:
3 on D sharp
2 on C sharp
1 on B

Left hand:

1 (thumb) on B
2 on A sharp
3 on G sharp
4 on F sharp
Cross thumb under:
1 on E
2 on D sharp
3 on C sharp
4 on B

Chords of the B major scale

The three most common chords used in any key are the I chord, or tonic, built on the first note, the IV chord, or subdominant, built on the fourth note, and the V chord, or dominant, built on the fifth note. So in the key of B major, here are these primary chords:

I chord (B major triad): B – D# – F#

IV chord (E major triad): E – G# – B

V chord (F# major triad): F# – A# – C#

Another chord you’ll see used a lot with the B major piano scale is the vi chord, the G# minor chord, which is the tonic chord of the relative minor key, G# minor:

vi chord (G# minor triad): G# – B – D#

Other chords in B major include the ii chord, a minor chord built on C#, the iii chord, another minor chord built on D#, and the vii chord, a diminished chord built on A#.

ii chord (C# minor triad): C# – E – G#

iii chord (D# minor triad): D# – F# – A#

vii chord (A# diminished triad): A# – C# – E

Chords using the B major scale

If you’d like some handy reference guides for chords and triads, download these free resources from the Hoffman Academy Store:

Songs in the key of B major

Prelude in B Major, Op. 32 no. 11 – Sergei Rachmaninoff

Prelude in B Major, Op. 28 no. 11 – Frederic Chopin

“Yellow” – Coldplay

“Take a Chance on Me” – ABBA

“Proud Mary” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Memories” – Maroon 5

“Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond

“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Want to learn all of the major scales on piano? Download our free Guide to All Major Scales now

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