The B Harmonic Minor Scale

b harmonic minor scale

B harmonic minor scale is composed of the same intervals as B natural minor scale with one semitone added for its minor seventh degree – creating a chord progression often heard in popular songs like Santana’s “El Farol” or Gloria Gaynor’s “Still Got the Blues”.

To practice this scale, begin on the 2nd fret of either your bass or treble clef (F#) and play through its ascending and descending movements.

Key signature

The key signature of the b harmonic minor scale is B sharp. This signature matches that of its relative major scale – B natural minor. However, the latter contains two sharps instead of three, making for a unique harmonic minor scale key signature.

The b harmonic minor scale offers one key difference to its relative minor scale – its 7th note position is raised by half-tone or semitone instead of following the usual minor key signature with two half-steps for its 7th note position. This makes this scale non-diatonic while simultaneously adding large intervals into chords created using it.

If you want to begin playing the b harmonic minor scale, one of the first skills you should acquire is how to read key signatures. To do this effectively, familiarize yourself with basic key signature rules; read our article on reading musical key signatures for helpful guidance.

To write the b harmonic minor key signature, simply place the appropriate number of sharp and flat symbols next to treble and bass clefs. For reference, see Solution section below which includes correct notation for this scale as well as display order and line/space staff positions of notes as well as sharp (#) and flat () accidental names.

As this is a harmonic minor scale, its key signature remains identical and no accidentals are needed – this is because harmonic minor scales are derived from major scales by raising one whole tone on their seventh note to create the harmonic minor scale.

As such, harmonic minor scale key signatures will typically not contain equal numbers of sharp and flat symbols as regular major scales; this depends on whether the key / tonic of each harmonic minor scale is natural or harmonic minor.

The B harmonic minor scale follows the same key signature as its relative major, E major. Therefore, its notation will mirror E major: F sharp, C sharp, G sharp and D sharp are used. The only distinction from B flat major’s key signature lies with a raised 7th note which becomes A natural due to changing church modes.


Harmonic minor scales differ from major and minor scales in that each step in their pattern of whole-tones and half-tones is distinct; harmonic minor scales have an odd interval pattern whereby the 7th note (D Major) is raised relative to its major scale counterpart (adding more “baroque” tones. While not one of the church modes (such as Aeolian or natural minor), harmonic minor can help create chord progressions with more complex and engaging progressions than natural minor alone would provide.

First step to understanding a harmonic minor scale is identifying its key signature. To do this, study the white notes listed above and notice their relationships on a piano keyboard – each white note name corresponds with either flat (b) or sharp (#) counterparts depending on its key signature, creating an up and down piano keyboard pattern of pairs of white/black notes that repeat throughout.

Once we have identified our key signature, our next step should be to determine how we can create triad chords from this scale. For this step, it is necessary to determine what triad quality each of the seven scale notes have by counting up and looking at intervals between pair of notes within this scale.

Begin by identifying the tonic triad. This can be achieved by looking back over our previous study of tonic scale notes B and D; note that note B serves as its root and forms the foundation of its tonic triad chord, I.

To determine triad chord qualities, we need to examine the intervals between every pair of scale points. This can be accomplished by counting up and looking at notes on a piano keyboard: to count up one whole tone you must move one physical piano key either white or black up; while counting up half-tones or semitones requires moving up by two physical piano keys (one white and one black).

To determine the triad chord quality for each scale note, we must consider its pattern of whole-tones and semi-tones. To make things easy we can refer to this diagram which displays each scale note’s interval pattern both whole tone increments as well as half tone increments so we can identify appropriate piano keys and note pitches easily.


The harmonic minor scale is an unusual minor key that stands apart from natural minor and melodic minor in terms of its intervals – the spacing between notes. It features an extremely distinctive sound often associated with classical music, Eastern European folk music and Jewish music as well as less frequently appearing in other styles like rock, country and blues music. This unique sound comes from its use of two augmented second intervals instead of using standard minor third intervals when creating V chords; for example.

The B harmonic minor scale stands out as being unique because it features a major seventh interval – created by raising the 7th note by half tone or semitone – that creates more dissonant sounds than natural minor’s minor seventh interval, creating more dynamic harmonic minor tunes.

To play a harmonic minor scale, its notes must be played one at a time beginning from the tonic and moving towards the octave, taking care not to skip any steps along the way. Each descending step is given its own name which differs slightly from ascending steps – for instance, subdominant is sometimes referred to as dominant for ease of understanding when chords are constructed using them as building blocks.

As with other minor scales, the b harmonic minor features unique intervallic relationships that enable musicians to add fresh sounds to their compositions. To better comprehend its intervallic differences, compare it with natural minor and melodic minor scales.

Below is a chart displaying the notes of the b harmonic minor scale in both treble and bass clef, along with a table illustrating its sharps and flats relative to their relative key signatures of natural minor and melodic minor scales.


The b harmonic minor scale offers musicians some interesting intervallic relationships they can use to craft melodies with unusual chord voicings and melodies. Although related to both major and minor scales, this scale also features its own set of modes used specifically in certain genres of music – creating its own sound which adds depth to any composition.

Step one in learning the b harmonic minor scale is understanding its pattern of note intervals. To do this, study these diagrams that depict this scale; notes are labeled with names and key signatures are indicated on each diagram – this can assist when identifying piano keys with this note being played upon. Remember that one whole tone equals one white or black piano key above from its previous note while two half-tones represent two white or black piano key increases between any given pair of notes.

Once you’ve mastered the interval patterns of this scale, it’s time to understand its modes. The b harmonic minor scale features seven modes that can be played with various chords; these include triad, tetrad and block chords. Each mode has its own nuances so practicing each mode will help you become familiar with how it sounds.

As with church modes, it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the scale pattern associated with each mode. This will enable you to easily recognize which piano keys and note pitches correspond with each scale; additionally it helps identify chords each mode works well with so you can incorporate it into your own music compositions.

Once you have mastered each mode’s chords, experiment combining them together to form musical phrases or use improvisation techniques with them – for instance using the B harmonic minor scale with Maj7th chords from Church modes for bluesy sounds!