Your Guide to the B Flat Major Chord

Different musical keys are often linked with different moods.

Whilst at first this may seem a little strange, there is a scientific reason for it. Depending on the key you are playing, the gaps between notes are subtly different. It’s not enough that most of us can notice it, but when playing in different keys, the mood of the key comes from these differences.

The B Flat Major Chord is from the B Flat key, which is renowned for having a bright character. We take a look at how to play this bright sounding chord. You can find the B flat major scale here.

What Is a Flat Note?

If you want to be able to play a B flat major chord, you first need to understand what flat notes are.

The simplest way to think of these is as the black notes on your piano keyboard. The white notes are represented by the letters of the alphabet from A to G. The black notes, rather than having their own names, are named as either flats or sharps of the notes above or below them.

So for example, the black note directly to the right of C is slightly higher up the keyboard, so it’s called C sharp. The black note to the left of E is slightly lower, so it’s called E flat. So B flat is the black note just to the left of B.

The B Flat Major Scale

The B flat major chord is the tonic chord of the scale of B flat major. This means that is is the chord that is based around the first note of the scale.

In all major keys, the spacing between the notes of the scale keeps the same pattern. This pattern is as follows: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. Since on a piano, each adjacent key is a half note higher than the last, we can use this pattern to work out the B flat major scale.

Starting from B flat, we go up two keys to C, another two to D, and then a single key to E flat. If we follow the pattern, we get the B flat major scale to be:

B flat, C, D, E flat, F, G, A, B flat.

The B Flat Major Chord

A chord is simply two or more notes being played at the same time.

The most common chords are triads. There are chords made up of three notes which can be played in different positions. There are three main ways of playing a B flat major chord on the piano.

Root Position

This position starts with B flat as the lowest note.

For a major chord, you need to play the first, third and fifth notes of the scale at the same time. In this case, the notes would be:

B flat, D, F

First Inversion

The first inversion of a chord starts with the third note of the scale at the bottom, with the first note of the scale moved up an octave to the top. In this case, it would be:

D, F, B flat

Second Inversion

The second inversion uses the fifth note of the scale at the bottom, with both the third and the fifth moved above it. This means the second inversion of the B flat major chord is:

F, B flat, D

Common Chord Progressions Using the B Flat Major Chord

Being able to play a chord on its own is not that much use.

Most music is made up of progressions of chords in a pattern, and many of these patterns occur time and again. We will take a look at some of the most common chord progressions that start with the B flat major chord.

I-IV-V-I

Don’t be put off by the roman numerals. This is just a way of representing chords so that they can apply no matter what the key.

In this case, this just means the chord progression is the first chord in the key, followed by the fourth, followed by the fifth, then back to the first. In the key of B flat, the chords would be as follows:

B flat, D, F

E flat, G, B flat

F, A, C

B flat, D, F

I-IV-I-V-I

Another common chord progression uses the same chords in a different pattern.

In the key of B flat, the chords would be as follows:

B flat, D, F

E flat, G, B flat

B flat, D, F

F, A, C

B flat, D, F

I-IV-V-IV-IV-V-I

And finally, a progression that includes a minor chord. See if you can hear the difference in the quality of one of the chords in the following pattern:

B flat, D, F

E flat, G, B flat

F, A, C

G, B flat, D

E flat, G, B flat

F, A, C

B flat, D, F

Music That Uses the B Flat Major Chord

Once you are confident with the B flat chord and some of the chord progressions that use it, you may want to try out some music that uses it.

B flat major (which can also be known as A sharp major – see if you can work out why) is the key used in about 3.5% of the songs on Spotify [1]. This puts it somewhere in the middle in terms of popularity.

Songs that are in this key include such classics as Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, Purple Rain by Prince and Rocket Man by Elton John. More more modern songs in this key include Roar by Katy Perry and Irreplaceable by Beyonce.

From the classical world, B flat major is the key used in Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and Mozart’s Symphony Number 24 [2].

I’ve Mastered the B Flat Chord-What Next?

Once you’ve mastered the B flat major chord, there is still plenty more to learn. If you haven’t already, you could learn some of the other chords related to B flat major such as B flat minor, or B flat seventh.

Or you could try to master the B flat scales: B flat major, B flat melodic minor and B flat harmonic minor. Whatever you decide to try next, we wish you the best of luck with your musical learning journey.

Stephanie Su
 

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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