B Harmonic Minor Scale

This article on the B Harmonic Minor scale deals with the associated music theory, notes, intervals, layouts on the piano keyboard, sheet music, guitar fretboard, guitar tabs and fingerings, chords of the scale and its modes, etc.

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Harmonic Minor Scale Structure

The scale formulas for the Harmonic minor scale are

{W H W W H WH H} or {T S T T S TS S} or {2 1 2 2 1 3 1}

Here,

  • H, S, W, & T denotes half-step, semitone, whole-step, and whole-tone.
  • TS or WH is an interval not found in any diatonic scale. Of course, you will see it in all the Pentatonic scales. It is an Augmented 2nd interval, equivalent to a minor third (m3) enharmonically, that provides the characteristic exotic sound to the harmonic minor scale.

You can also use the formula below with the parallel major scale notes.

[1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7]

For comparison,

  • The natural minor scale formula is [1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7]. It has b7 instead of 7 in harmonic minor. The M7 interval from the tonic note in harmonic minor provides the leading tone to the scale.
  • Similarly, the melodic minor scale ascending formula is [1 2 b3 4 5 6 7]. It has a 6 instead of a b6 in the harmonic minor.

Intervals Of Harmonic Minor Scales

The intervals of the notes of the Harmonic minor scale from their tonic note are:

R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – M7 – R(O).

B Harmonic Minor Scale Notes

Using B as the first note in the above formulas, we get the notes of the B Harmonic minor scale as,

{B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A#, and B(O)}.

A# is the leading tone for the B harmonic minor scale with a strong tendency to resolve upwards to the tonic note B(O), an octave higher. The B harmonic minor scale carries three sharps.

For comparison, the notes of

  1. B Natural minor scale is {B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A, and B(O)}, and
  2. B Melodic minor scale ascending are {B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A#, and B(O)}, while B melodic minor scale (descending) notes are the same as those of B minor scale.

The harmonic minor scales have the key signature of their parallel minor scales. Hence, B Harmonic minor uses the key signature of the B minor scale comprising two sharps.

You must use separate accidentals to show the raised seventh notes on the sheet music. Also, the relative major scale is defined only for the natural minor scales. The D major scale is the relative major for the B minor scale.

You require five white keys (including the octave) and three black keys to play this scale on the Piano Keyboard. You can see the piano diagram below with the relevant keys marked.

B Harmonic Minor on Piano Keyboard

Scale Degrees

The intervals between the notes of the B Harmonic minor scale, the notes, and the scale degrees, are shown in the table below.

Intervals Root M2 m3 P4 P5 m6M7P8
Scale Degrees12345671(8)
Melodic MinorBC#DEF#GA#B(O)

Diagram Of This Scale On The Treble And Bass Clef:

The notation diagrams of the B Harmonic minor scale ascending and descending are shown below, showing its notes on the treble and bass clef.

Treble Clef:

B Harmonic Minor on Treble Clef

Bass Clef:

B Harmonic Minor on Bass Clef

B Harmonic Minor Scale Guitar Positions

To play any harmonic minor scale, you can use the five patterns based on the CAGED patterns. The combined layout of these patterns on the complete fretboard is shown below.

You can see the complete B Harmonic minor scale in one line from fret 2nd to 14th on String 5.

B Harmonic Minor Scale Up to 15 Fret

The five individual patterns are shown in the diagrams below. The main characteristics of these diagrams are also detailed below.

B Harmonic Minor Scale Patterns

1st Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: E open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 4th to 8th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Three.
  4. Lowest root position: 7th fret on the 6th string.
B Harmonic Minor - E Shape

2nd Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: D open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 6th to 10th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Three.
  4. Lowest root position: 7th fret on the 6th string.
B Harmonic Minor - D Shape

3rd Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: C open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 9th fret to 13th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Two.
  4. Lowest root position: 9th fret on the 4th string.
B Harmonic Minor - C Shape

4th Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: A open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 11th to 15th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Two.
  4. Lowest root position: 14th fret on the 5th string.
B Harmonic Minor - A Shape

5th Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: G open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 2nd to 6th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Two.
  4. Lowest root position: 2nd fret on the 5th string.
B Harmonic Minor - G Shape

Practicing The Scale Patterns

The recommended fingerings for the five patterns are given in the diagrams below. You can modify them if you are comfortable with slightly different patterns.

B Harmonic Minor Scale Fingerings

What Are The Chords Of The B Harmonic Minor Key?

The chords formed from the seven notes of the B Harmonic minor scale, their chord qualities, and Roman numerals designation are given in the table below.

Scale Degrees1234567
Chord DesignationiiidimIII+ivVVIviidim
Chord NamesBmC#dimD+EmF#GA#dim
Chord QualityminordiminishedAugmentedminorMajorMajordiminished

The following triad chords result from the B Harmonic minor scale.

  1. Two major chords – V and VI – F# major and G major. The V chord (F# Major) is the dominant chord for the scale.
  2. Two minor chords – i and iv – B minor and E minor chord.
  3. One Augmented chord – III+ – D Augmented chord.
  4. Two diminished chords – ii° and vii°, C#dim and A#dim.

The seven triads, their note names, and their intervals are shown in the table below.

Scale DegreesIntervalsChord NotesChord Name
1R – B – m3 – D – M3 – F#B – D – F#Bm
2R – C# – m3 – E – m3 – GC# – E – GC#dim
3R – D – M3 – F# – m3 – A#D – F# – A#D+
4R – E – m3 – G – M3 – BE – G – BEm
5R – F# – m3 – A# – M3 – C#F# – A# – C#F#
6R – G – M3 – B – m3 – DG – B – DG
7R – A – M3 – C# – m3 – EA# – C# – EA#dim

What Are The Seventh Chords Of The B Harmonic Minor Key?

The following seventh chords naturally occur in B Harmonic minor scale.

  • B Minor Major 7th Chord – BmM7 – imM7 – [B D F# A#].
  • C# Half Diminished 7th Chord – C#m7b5 – iiø7 – [C# E G B].
  • D Augmented Major 7th Chord – D Major7#5 – bIIIMaj7#5 – [D F# A# C#].
  • E Minor 7th Chord – Em7 – ivm7 – [E G B D].
  • F# Dominant 7th Chord – F#7 – V7 – [F# A# C# E].
  • G Major 7th Chord – GMaj7 – VIM7 – [G B D F#].
  • A# Full Diminished 7th Chord – A#o7 – viio7 – [A# C# E G].

The Modes Of The B Harmonic Minor Scale.

The seven modes of the B Harmonic minor scale are:

  1. B Harmonic minor or Aeolian #7. The mode has structure [1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7], hence known as Aeolian #7. It has notes [B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A#].
  2. C# Locrian #6 – The structure is [1 b2 b3 4 b5 6 b7], and the notes are [C#, D, E, F#, G, A#, B].
  3. D Ionian #5 – The structure is [1 2 3 4 #5 6 7], and the notes are [D, E, F#, G, A#, B, C#]. This is also known as the D Augmented Major mode.
  4. E Dorian #4 – The structure is [1 2 b3 #4 5 6 b7], and the notes are [E, F#, G, A#, B, C#, D]. This is also known as the E Ukrainian Dorian or Altered Dorian mode.
  5. F# Phrygian #3 – The structure is [1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7], and the notes are [F#, G, A#, B, C#, D, E]. This is also known as the F# Phrygian Dominant mode.
  6. G Lydian #2 – The structure is [1 #2 3 #4 5 6 7], and the notes are [G, A#, B, C#, D, E, F#].
  7. A# Super-Locrian scale bb7 – The structure is [1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 bb7], and the notes are [A#, B, C#, D, E, F#, G]. It is sometimes referred to as the Altered Diminished mode also.

Conclusion

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