B Flat Minor Scale

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In this lesson, we will learn how to play the B flat minor scale. The three types of minor scales are the natural, melodic and harmonic minor scales. We will take a look at all three of them here.

We will learn the notes, intervals and scale degrees of the B flat minor scale (natural, melodic and harmonic) on the piano, treble and bass clef.

B flat is an enharmonic of A sharp. On piano, the same keys are used to play the two scales. In terms of sound, they are identical. The only difference is the names of the notes. The notes of the A sharp natural minor scale are A♯, B♯, C♯, D♯, E♯, F♯, and G♯.

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B Flat Natural Minor Scale

The notes of the B flat natural minor scale are  B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G♭, and A♭. This scale has 5 flats.

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Let’s take a look at the intervals of the Bb minor scale.

Note Intervals:

  1. Tonic – The 1st note of the B-flat natural minor scale is Bb.
  2. Major 2nd – The 2nd note of the scale is C.
  3. Minor 3rd – The 3rd note of the scale is Db.
  4. Perfect 4th – The 4th note of the scale is Eb.
  5. Perfect 5th – The 5th note of the scale is F.
  6. Minor 6th – The 6th note of the scale is Gb.
  7. Minor 7th – The 7th note of the scale is Ab.
  8. Perfect 8th – The 8th note of the A-flat natural minor scale is Bb.

Here’s a diagram of the B flat minor scale on piano/keyboard. 

b flat minor scale on piano

Here’s the B flat natural minor scale on the treble clef.

B flat minor scale on the treble clef.

Here’s the B flat natural minor scale on the bass clef.

B flat minor scale bass clef

How about the scale degrees? They are as follows:

  1. Tonic: Bb
  2. Supertonic: C
  3. Mediant: Db
  4. Subdominant: Eb
  5. Dominant: F
  6. Submediant: Gb
  7. Subtonic: Ab
  8. Octave: Bb

There’s a formula for forming natural minor scales using whole steps and half steps. That formula is W-H-W-W-H-W-W. “W” stands for whole step and “H” stands for half step.

Let’s form the B flat minor scale with this formula. Of course, our starting note is Bb. From Bb, we take a whole step to C. Next, we take a half step to Db. From Db, a whole step takes us to Eb. Another whole step takes us to F. From F, we go up a half step to Gb. From Gb, a whole step takes us to Ab. Finally, the last whole step returns us to Bb.

The relative major key for the key of Bb minor is Db major. A natural minor scale/key consists of the same notes as its relative major. The sixth note of the major scale becomes the root note of its relative minor.

Let’s now learn the piano fingerings for the Bb minor scale. 

On both the left and right hands, the thumb is finger 1, index finger is finger two, middle finger is finger 3, ring finger is finger 4 and pinky (little) finger is finger 5.

  • A Sharp Minor Notes: A♯, B♯, C♯, D♯, E♯, F♯, G♯, A♯
  • B Flat Minor Notes: B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭, B♭
  • Fingerings (Left Hand): 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2
  • Fingerings (Right Hand): 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4

Triad chords in the key of Bb minor and their notes:

  1. Chord i – B flat minor. Notes: Bb – Db – F
  2. Chord iidim – C diminished. Notes: C – Eb- Gb
  3. Chord III – D flat major. Notes: Db – F – Ab
  4. Chord iv – E flat minor. Notes: Eb – Gb – Bb
  5. Chord v – F minor. Notes: F – Ab – C
  6. Chord VI – G flat major. Notes: Gb – Bb – Db
  7. Chord VII – A flat major. Notes: Ab – C – Eb

For further reading on the key of Bb minor and its chords, go here.

B Flat Harmonic Minor Scale

Now that we know the notes of the B flat minor scale (natural), we now take a look at the B flat harmonic minor scale.

To play a harmonic minor scale, you simply raise the seventh note of the natural minor scale by a half-step as you go up and down the scale. For example, the notes of the natural B flat minor scale are B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭, B♭. To form the B flat harmonic minor scale, we raise the seventh note by a half step and this results in B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A, B♭.

The formula for forming a harmonic minor scale is W-H-W-W-H-W 1/2-H. (Whole step – half step – whole step – whole step – half step – whole step and a 1/2 step – half step.)

Harmonic Minor Scale Intervals

  1. Tonic: The 1st note of the Bb harmonic minor scale is Bb.
  2. Major 2nd: The 2nd note of the scale is C.
  3. Minor 3rd: The 3rd note of the scale is Db.
  4. Perfect 4th: The 4th note of the scale is Eb.
  5. Perfect 5th: The 5th note of the scale is F.
  6. Minor 6th: The 6th note of the scale is Gb.
  7. Major 7th: The 7th note of the scale is A.
  8. Perfect 8th: The 8th note of the Bb harmonic minor scale is Bb.

Here’s a diagram of the harmonic B flat minor scale on piano.B flat harmonic minor scale on piano

Here’s the Bb harmonic minor scale on the treble clef.

B flat harmonic minor scale on the treble clef

Here’s the Bb harmonic minor scale on the bass clef.

B flat harmonic minor scale on bass clef

B Flat Melodic Minor Scale

Let’s now learn how to form the B flat melodic minor scale. While the harmonic minor scale raises only the seventh note of the natural minor scale by a half step, the melodic minor scale raises both the sixth and seventh notes by a half step.

The notes of the B flat natural minor scale (as we’ve seen) are B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭, B♭. For the B flat melodic minor scale we raise the 6th and 7th notes by a half step and this results inB♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G, A, B♭. These notes are used when ascending. When descending, you go back to the natural minor scale.

Notes of the Bb melodic minor scale ascending: B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G, A, B♭.

Notes of the Bb melodic minor scale descending: B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭, B♭. (These are the notes of the Bb natural minor scale.)

The formula for a melodic minor scale (ascending) is W-H-W-W-W-W-H. The descending formula is the natural minor scale formula backwards.

Melodic B flat Minor Scale Intervals

  1. Tonic: The 1st note of the Bb melodic minor scale is Bb.
  2. Major 2nd: The 2nd note of the scale is C.
  3. Minor 3rd: The 3rd note of the scale is Db.
  4. Perfect 4th: The 4th note of the scale is Eb.
  5. Perfect 5th: The 5th note is F.
  6. Major 6th: The 6th note is G.
  7. Major 7th: The 7th note is A.
  8. Perfect 8th: The 8th note of the Bb melodic minor scale is Bb.

Here’s the B-flat melodic minor scale on piano, ascending.B flat melodic minor scale on piano

Here’s the B flat melodic minor scale on the treble clef. B flat melodic minor scale on treble clef.

Here’s the scale on the bass clef. B flat melodic minor scale on bass clef.

Learn how to form major and minor scales in all keys.

Learn how to form all types of scales.

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