The Major and Minor Keys of B Chords

B Major is an expressive chord suitable for many styles and situations, serving as an ideal alternative to more popular (but harder) shapes.

B major is one of the more difficult beginner chords to learn, yet can be found in many songs by The Guess Who and also appears as part of seventh chord structures like Bdim7.


The major key of B is an extremely versatile and frequently-used key, boasting a strong and satisfying sound that lends itself to nearly any genre of music. Although commonly associated with rock and pop genres (in the form of power chords), its use among jazz musicians tends to be limited as it tends to convey emotions such as fear, anger and despair – yet nonetheless remains an important key to master.

Understanding octaves is fundamental when learning this key, as chords consist of three notes called triads; when combined together they form dominant or major 7th chords while by lowering fifth and third by half steps it forms minor diminished chords. Octaves in this key include B, C# and F#

Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of this key, you can progress to more intricate chords and progressions. Many popular songs from your favorite artists were likely written using this key; for instance, The Backstreet Boys and Michael Jackson both wrote numerous songs in major key B.

Remember the different kinds of chords available within any key, including major, minor, augmented and diminished chords. Each has their own sound and formation method – for example a diminished chord can be created by placing a minor interval over a major interval; an augmented chord may form by layering an extra minor interval on top of an existing major interval.

Root or tonic chords of B major are the simplest way to play them, using your index finger on the third fret of the second string with middle and ring fingers playing all four notes; adding your pinky for the final note completes it. This form of the chord is commonly known as its first inversion or root position – though you can experiment with various ways of playing it by changing order of notes or inverting inversions.


Minor keys of B chords can be more challenging to play than their major counterparts due to fewer suspended notes in the minor scale; the root note, B flat, covers for two intervals while dominant seventh chords cover for five more – leaving only two possibilities: 2 and 4.

As when playing in major keys, when performing chords in minor keys it is essential that guitarists take note of these notes since they can greatly alter the sound of the chord itself. Minor keys generally tend to have darker and melancholier tones compared to major keys; as such they often create mournful or haunting music as well as more sinister or mysterious sounds.

Minor chords include the B Minor Triad, composed of notes B-Fb-Ab. This chord can be heard frequently in classical and blues music as well as songs by artists like Radiohead.

Minor key musicians often rely on the B minor sus4 chord to add an additional layer of color and dimension to their music, and once mastered it becomes easy and accessible.

Beyond basic triads and sus4s, the key of B offers some alternative forms of minor chords as well. C# major dominates here while in major keys it would sound quite different; B minor also features diminished sevenths that mimic major seventh chords with flat fifths instead.

Learning chord construction in B minor can be an ideal starting point. Through understanding major and minor scales, you can easily develop chord progressions that support any melody. Once you master these basic techniques, more complex progressions may become available.


Although a dominant triad can be built as either a major, minor or diminished chord, its core component is usually built upon the fifth scale degree (leading tone). This note often has an affinity to resolve to its tonic – further strengthening tonality.

An expanded triad can become a seventh chord by adding one note one octave above its lower member – this process is known as inversion and provides you with the tools for creating different sounds in your compositions and giving them greater depth. It allows for creating dynamic compositions with deeper sounds.

For dominant seventh chords, the symbol for them is B7. When looking at its notes closely, one will recognize their similarity to an F major triad as one octave is equivalent to 7 semitones. To create such a chord simply add one octave up from its root note (B), in this instance F.

Dominant seventh chords possess an overwhelming and natural tendency towards their tonic note, making them an excellent choice as resolution chords in songs or sections of music. Dominant seventh chords may also be used to lead into minor or major vi chords for a more effective transition into their associated chord.

Chords can be expanded further to form dominant ninth, eleventh, or thirteenth chords by adding an additional note a third higher than the original chord – this process is known as suspension, and can have a profound impact on how a chord sounds overall.

Unsurprisingly, the dominant seventh can serve as a V chord in a progression leading up to a vi chord (eg, Em) even when that chord doesn’t exist in its respective key as the dominant itself – creating tension by way of what’s often referred to as the “cliffhanger effect”.

Similar to how a B7 can create tension before the final V chord of a piece (C), a secondary dominant can also be utilized as an effective means to do so.


Mixolydian is an important jazz and blues mode, constructed on the same interval formula as major, but with one minor seventh added (b7). Also referred to as Dominant scale, Mixolydian builds from G major as its basis with root note followed by major second, major third, perfect fourth perfect fifth perfect seventh minor seventh then octave being its major chord progressions.

To play mixolydian chords effectively, it’s essential that you possess a sound knowledge of how a major scale works. This requires learning all 12 notes within it as well as how they combine into chords. Experiment with different chord progressions using this scale as a basis for practicing your modal guitar soloing skills with key of b chords such as C, E and D that work well as well as their minor versions like Cm and Em.

Once you’ve mastered the chords in this key, it’s time to experiment with other modal chords. Use your scale to play dominant 7 chords or use other types of triad chords that harmonize with major scale harmonies; key of B chords works best with those rooted in minor and major seventh scales to avoid clashing notes.

Experienced musicians may wish to experiment with adding other flat sevenths of this mode into your triad chords for a more melodic sound, making your solos and improvisations sound more interesting and melodic while standing out from other players. It can help add color and make an improvisation stand out among players of similar playing ability.

To hear examples of how the mixolydian mode sounds, listen to artists such as John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie. TheoryTab also provides many chord progressions using this mode; you could even try your hand at writing original music in this key if desired! Just make sure your ears stay open, practice often and listen closely!