As an absolute beginner to both music reading and playing, I have a question that will no doubt appear silly, but it is driving me insane. In the key of F there is a Bflat, does this mean that if you have to play the Gmajor chord (GBD) the B will be played as flat, i.e. G Bflat D?

2 Answers 2


Using your example in the key of F major, chords (triads in this case) are made using notes from that scale. 1-3-5 will make Fmaj., 2-4-6 will make Gmin., as the 4 is Bb, as in the key signature. 3-5-7 will make Amin., 4-6-8 makes Bb maj, same reason as the 2nd chord. 5-7-9 shows as Cmaj.; the relative minor of F (Dmin) will be made from 6-8-10, and 7-9-11 gives a strange sounding chord, Emb5, which just happens to be the top 3 notes of F's dominant chord, called C7.

If you wanted to use a Gmaj. chord in your music, there are no rules saying 'don't', but it would have to include a B natural, shown in music with a natural sign (♮). Lots of songs in F maj. throw a G maj. chord in, instead or as well as a G min., so it's no big deal.

I feel sure this or a similar question has been answered on this site already.

  • Thanks for that Tim. I gather, therefore, that any broken G chord triad reference in a score written in the key of F would always refer to G min, unless of course the natural symbol is added to the B note.
    – Novice
    Sep 5, 2013 at 11:17
  • @Novice How are you expecting your "score" to be written? If it's a classical sheet music score, the actual notes are there; if it's written as chords, e.g. g7, then upper-case letters means Major and lower-case means minor. Sep 5, 2013 at 11:56
  • @Novice Yes, as the key signature that is written when playing in Fmaj. is one flat - Bb.Therefore any notes written on the B lines or spaces will have to be flattened,when played. If B natural is needed, then a natural sign will show that. It also helps musicians to realise that the music is modulating in some way, or, it's been written modally, and the mode has changed - mode-ulated, maybe.
    – Tim
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:20
  • @Carl Witthoft Whilst g7 is written for Gmin.7, it's far more common to see Gm7 or even Gmin7 in popular music. We also see G_7, which I think is pretty naff.Also, how can this differentiate between G7, Gmaj7 and Gm7. I've seen GM7 for maj., but where does that leave us ?
    – Tim
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:26
  • Thanks again Tim. You have fully cleared up my query on stating that "..key signature that is written when playing in Fmaj. is one flat - Bb.Therefore any notes written on the B lines or spaces will have to be flattened,when played."
    – Novice
    Sep 5, 2013 at 17:07

Well you "don't have to", you can play anything you want. There is a thousand formulas were you could actually use a chromatic or borrowed note or chord and it would make sense.

If you mean "I want to keep my harmony and melody in F major strictly" or you are talking about a sheet paper that indicates that (and then forces you to interpret it that way), then yes, you must use Bb anywhere, that is, modify all the chords from the C (major/Ionian) logic:

So in the key of F major, you specially use G-Bb-D (Gminor chord), Bb-D-F (Bb major), E-G-Bb (Eº) and C-E-G-Bb (C7 instead of Cmaj7 when doing a 4-voiced chord), and of course you have to modify other sus2, sus4, 6, and so on that used B. You can see that playing on a piano, if you are on F major, you are playing one black key (Bb) instead of B. Does not matter what basic chord you play, you have to substitute it.

Anyway your question is not well-formulated. If you play a Bb instead of a B in a G chord, then you are not playing a G chord anymore, but a Gm chord. So playing in F major implies using a minor G chord as a reference.

  • I did preface by stating I'm a genuine novice at this. Consequently, the question does no doubt lack proper formulation. I appreciate your showing such patience in deigning to profer a reply.
    – Novice
    Sep 5, 2013 at 17:14
  • Sorry I am not an english speaker so probably I did not express it correctly. You humbly stated you were novice, and I tried to point you to the way words cheats us, not actually trying to be critic or cynical pedanticly about your mistake, is more a FYI correction. I am not sure if you understand me :)
    – Whimusical
    Sep 6, 2013 at 14:02

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