B minor scale

Interested in learning the B minor scale?

The B minor scale is a great place to start for guitar players looking to expand their repertoire. It’s used in a variety of songs and can be applied in a number of different ways.

In this lesson, we’ll teach you all about the B minor scale – including its notes, positions, chords, and more. You’ll be able to apply what you learn to your own playing in no time!

Read the complete article below on the B minor scale now and get started learning today!

Introduction To B Minor Scale

Some of the amazing compositions like the Hotel California and the main theme of Tchaikovsky’s swan lake have been done in the key of B minor. However, the opinion of the classical music greats has been mixed about the key.

It has been expressed as a key of “quiet acceptance of fate,” “submission to divine dispensation,” or ” very gentle complaint.” Galeazzi and Beethoven had expressed an unfavorable opinion about the key. But romantic era composers such as Schubart, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin, etc. have created some of their important works in the key. “St John Passion” by Bach is also in this key.

The list of symphonies in the key of B minor are listed here.

Minor Scale Structure

The scale formula for any natural minor scale is

{W H W W H W W} or {T S T T S T T} or {2 1 2 2 1 2 2}

As you are aware or can observe in the formulas, the major and minor scales fall in the category of the diatonic scales that have the notes almost uniformly distributed with only whole-step and half-step intervals. Any of the above three formulas can be used to find the notes of the scale.

A more detailed structural representation, which also shows the intervals from the root note of the minor scale, is

R – T – M2 – S – m3 – T – P4 – T – P5 – S – m6 – T – m7 – T – R(O). Note that R(O) is the tonic note, an octave above the R.

Intervals Of Minor Scales

The natural minor scales have intervals, R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – m7 – R(O). These intervals are between the root note and the individual notes.

There are two other minor scales, as under,

  1. The harmonic minor scale with the intervals R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – M7 – R(O). You can note that the difference lies in the seventh note, which is raised to make it a leading tone for higher resolution to the tonic.
  2. The melodic minor scale in ascending order has a raised 6th and 7th. The intervals are R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – M6 – M7 – R(O).

B Minor Scale Notes

The seven notes of the B natural minor scale and the octave are: {B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G, A, B(O)}, where B(O) is the B note one octave higher than the root.

As you can observe, the key signature of the B minor scale has two sharps in it, hence to play it on the piano, you require five white and two black keys.

The notes of the B Harmonic Minor scale are B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G, A#, B(O). Note that the 7th note, A# is a half step higher than A in the minor scale and is known as the leading tone.

The notes of the B Melodic Minor scale (ascending) are: B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G#, A#, B(O)

Scale Degrees

The intervals of the B Natural minor scale, their scale degrees, the note of the B minor scale, B harmonic minor scale, and the B melodic minor in ascending order are shown in the table below.

Intervals Root M2 m3 P4 P5 m6 m7P8
Scale Degrees12345671(8)
Natural MinorBC#DEF#GAB(O)
Harmonic MinorBC#DEF#GA#B(O)
Melodic MinorBC#DEF#G#A#B(O)

Diagram Of This Scale On The Treble And Bass Clef:

The diagram of the B minor scale on the treble and bass clef in the ascending and descending directions is shown below:

Treble Clef:

B Minor Scale in Asc and Desc direction on Treble Clef

Bass Clef:

B Minor Scale in Asc and Desc direction on Bass Clef

B Minor Scale Guitar Positions

Let us now quickly run through the positions of the notes of the B minor scale on the fretboard. The complete layout up to the 15th fret is shown in the diagram below. The notes repeat after the 12th fret on the fretboard.

B Minor Scale up to 15th fret

The five patterns of the B minor scale based on the CAGED system open chord shapes are shown in the chord diagrams below. You must closely observe the patterns in these chord diagrams and note the positions of the lowest root note in each of them. You will always use them as the first note to play these scales.

Pattern 1

B Minor Scale Pattern P1

Pattern 2

B Minor Scale Pattern P2

Pattern 3

B Minor Scale Pattern P3

Pattern 4

B Minor Scale Pattern P4

Pattern 5

B Minor Scale Pattern P5

Let us quickly note and understand the main characteristics of these chord diagrams.

1st Pattern

The 1st pattern is based on the E open chord shape and has the following main features.

  1. The pattern is spread from the 9th to the 12th fret. The patterns that span 4 frets are easier to play as you can use one finger to play notes of one fret. For example, in the present case, you can use the fingerings as – index finger for the 9th fret, middle finger for the 10th fret, ring finger for the 11th fret, and the little finger for the 12th fret.
  2. There are two root notes in the pattern.
  3. The lowest root note is on the 9th fret of the 4th string. You must play this pattern from B on the 4th string to D, 3rd string E to G, 2nd string A to B, 1st string C# to E, then all the way back up to C# on the 9th fret – 6th string in the reverse direction, before turning back again and completing on B on the 4th string.

2nd Pattern

The 2nd pattern is based on the D shape.

  1. It lies between the 11th to 15th fret.
  2. It carries two roots.
  3. The lowest root is on the 14th fret of the 5th string.

3rd Pattern

The 3rd pattern is based on the C open chord shape.

  1. It lies between the 2nd to 5th fret for the B minor scale.
  2. It has two root notes.
  3. The lowest root is on the 2nd fret of the 5th string.

4th Pattern

This pattern is based on the A chord shape.

  1. It spans between the 4th to the 8th fret.
  2. It covers three root notes.
  3. The lowest-pitched note is on the 7th fret of the 6th string.

5th Pattern

The last pattern is based on the G shape.

  1. It lies between the 6th and the 10th fret.
  2. It also has three root notes.
  3. The lowest note is on the 7th fret of the 6th string. This note is the same as the 4th pattern due to the overlapping of patterns.

Practicing The Scale Patterns

We have described in detail how to play and practice any scale in our articles on D Major and E major scales. You may refer to the fingerings and other playing and practicing details there, as the major concepts are the same.

What Are The Chords Of the B Minor key?

The triad chords are formed by stacking the intervals of 3rds. The table below shows the chord designation and chord quality in the minor keys, and the seven chords, in the key of B minor.

Scale Degrees1234567
Chord DesignationiiidimIIIivvVIVII
Chord NamesBmC#dimDEmF#mGA
Chord QualityminordiminishedMajorminorminorMajorMajor

These seven chords are summarized below:

  1. Three major chords – III, VI, and VII – D major, G major, and A major.
  2. Three minor chords – i, iv, and v – Bm, Em, and F#m.
  3. One diminished chord – ii°, C#dim.

What Are The Notes In These Chords?

The seven triads, their notes, 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 – BD – F# – BD
4R – E – m3 – G – M3 – BE – G – BEm
5R – F# – m3 – A – M3 – C#F# – A – C#F#m
6R – G – M3 – B – m3 – DG – B – DG
7R – A – M3 – C# – m3 – EA – C# – EA

Relative & Parallel Major Of B Minor

The relative major of the B natural minor scale is the D major scale. Alternatively, B minor is the relative minor of the D major. As you know, the relative minor and major scales carry the same notes.

D Major Scale: D – E – F♯ – G – A – B – C♯ – D.

The parallel scale of B natural minor is the B major scale with the notes,

B – C# – D# – E – F# – G# – A# – B

Songs In The Key Of B Minor

Some of the popular songs in the key of B minor are

  1. “Rasputin” by Boney M.
  2. “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses.
  3. “Hotel California” by Eagles.
  4. “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.
  5. “One” by Metallica.
  6. “Money on my mind” by Stan Smith.
  7. “Diamonds” by Rihanna.


B minor is a beautiful-sounding scale, and its mood can be both dark and light. The B minor chords are some of the richest-sounding chords on the guitar. If you want to learn this scale, check out our positions on the fretboard and popular chord progressions article. As always, please leave any questions or comments in the section below.

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