B♭ (musical note)

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{ \new Staff \with{ \magnifyStaff #3/2 } << \time 2/1 \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f { \clef bass bes1_B-flat \clef treble bes' } >> }

B (B-flat), or, in some European countries, B, is the eleventh step of the Western chromatic scale (starting from C). It lies a diatonic semitone above A and a chromatic semitone below B,[1] thus being enharmonic to A, even though in some musical tunings, B will have a different sounding pitch than A. B-flat is also enharmonic to Cdouble flat (C-double flat).

When calculated in equal temperament with a reference of A above middle C as 440 Hz, the frequency of the B above middle C is approximately 466.164 Hz.[2] See musical pitch for a discussion of historical variations in frequency.

While orchestras tune to an A provided by the oboist,[3] wind ensembles usually tune to a B-flat provided by a tuba, horn, or clarinet.[citation needed]

In Germany, Russia, Poland, Scandinavia and Slovakia this pitch is designated B, with 'H' used to designate the B-natural. Since the 1990s, B-flat is often denoted Bb or "Bess" instead of B in Swedish music textbooks. Natural B is called "B" by Swedish jazz and pop musicians, but still denoted H in classical music.[citation needed] See B (musical note) and Note names and their history for explanations.

Designation by octave[edit]

Scientific designation Helmholtz designation Octave name Frequency (Hz)
B−1 B͵͵͵ or ͵͵͵B or BBBB Subsubcontra 14.568
B0 B͵͵ or ͵͵B or BBB Subcontra 29.135
B1 B͵ or ͵B or BB Contra 58.27
B2 B Great 116.541
B3 b Small 233.082
B4 b One-lined 466.164
B5 b Two-lined 932.328
B6 b Three-lined 1864.655
B7 b Four-lined 3729.31
B8 b Five-lined 7458.62
B9 b Six-lined 14917.24
B10 b Seven-lined 29834.481


Common scales beginning on B[edit]

Diatonic scales[edit]

  • B Ionian: B C D E F G A B
  • B Dorian: B C D E F G A B
  • B Phrygian: B C D E F G A B
  • B Lydian: B C D E F G A B
  • B Mixolydian: B C D E F G A B
  • B Aeolian: B C D E F G A B
  • B Locrian: B C D E F G A B

Jazz melodic minor[edit]


  1. ^ "B-flat (note) on Piano, Guitar, and Ukulele". Musicca. Retrieved 2024-01-18.
  2. ^ Suits, B. H. (1998). "Physics of Music Notes - Scales: Just vs Equal Temperament". MTU.edu. Michigan Technological University. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  3. ^ "Why does the orchestra tune to the oboe?". Rockford Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 2024-01-18.

See also[edit]