Let’s look at how to build a B flat major scale on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any major scale.
What Are Major Scales?
Major scales are groups of eight notes, played in alphabetical order, starting and ending on the same note. They’re groups of notes used to write songs.
Songs written in the key of B flat major used the notes of the B flat major scale to write the song.
How to Build a Major Scale
In order to build a major scale, we need to understand half-steps and whole steps.
A half-step is the distance from one note to the very next, whether black or white.
A whole step is the distance from one note to two away, whether black or white. A whole step is two half-steps.
Major scales are named after their starting note, so a B flat major scale will start on a B♭.
To build a major scale, we can find our starting note, then play this pattern of half and whole steps (where H = half-step, and W = whole step):
W – W – H – W – W – W – H
It’s helpful to think of this pattern as two sets of W – W – H, joined by a whole step.
How to Build a B Flat Major Scale
To build a B flat major scale, we’ll start on a B♭. If you’re not sure how to label the notes of the piano, start here.
Then we’ll use the pattern of whole and half-steps to build the scale. Starting on a B♭, we’ll play the note one whole step up, which is C. Then we’ll play the note one whole step up from C, which is D. Next, we’ll play the note one half-step up from D, which is E♭.
We can continue this pattern of whole and half-steps until we reach the next B♭, and the scale is complete.
What Are the Notes of a B Flat Major Scale?
The notes of a B flat major scale are:
B♭ – C – D – E♭ – F – G – A – B♭
Labeling the Notes of a B Flat Major Scale
You may be wondering why we label the E♭ as an E♭ instead of a D♯ (a flat indicates the note one half-step down, a sharp indicates the note one half-step up).
The reason is that according to our definition of a major scale, the notes must progress in alphabetical order. Since this is a B flat major scale, the second note will be some sort of C, the third some sort of D, the fourth some sort of E, and so on.
Other Major Scales
You can use this pattern to build any major scale on the piano. Find your starting note, then follow the pattern of W – W – H – W – W – W – H to find the remaining notes of the scale.
Here are all the major scales:
C major scale
G major scale
D major scale
A major scale
E major scale
B major scale
F sharp major scale
C sharp major scale
F major scale
B flat major scale
E flat major scale
A flat major scale
D flat major scale
G flat major scale
C flat major scale
If you’d like to see how the scales are related to each other, take a look at the circle of fifths. It’s a really neat pattern demonstrating the relationships between the major scales!
Now you know how to build a B flat major scale on the piano!
Knowing how to build major scales is foundational to building different types of chords at the piano, and will serve you well for the long-term as you continue learning!