Music Gateway
Login or Join for Free
or sign up with
Spotify icon
Burger menu
Large chevron
close icon
Releasing music? Get more streams and grow your fan base. Tell me more.
Get more
with PROMO.
Discover more about PROMO.
close icon

Music Theory

Understanding the E/B Piano Chord

Photograph of the blog post author, Sebastian Wolf

Sebastian Wolf


Small blue and purple gradient divider


e/b piano chord

Often appearing in sheet music simply as “E/B”, the E/B piano chord is an E major chord in the first inversion, where the ‘B’ – the fifth of the chord – acts as the bass note. This intriguing chord can add a whole new dimension to your musical repertoire, offering an unexpected twist to your conventional chord progressions and infusing your music with an air of mystery.

In this article, we’ll explore the theory behind the E/B chord, how to play it on the piano, and popular songs that use it. So, join us on an adventure in harmony and learn how the E/B chord can enhance your musical narrative.

What Is the E/B Piano Chord?

What Is the E/B Piano Chord

The E/B piano chord is, in essence, a silent hero of the musical world. Like a skilled actor subtly enhancing a scene with their nuanced performance, the E/B chord brings a beautiful complexity to any music piece it graces. Its unassuming yet distinctive flavour cultivates a sense of intrigue, adding depth and individuality to your compositions. 

An E/B chord, also known as E major over B, is essentially an E major chord, with B (the 5th note) played as the bass note. This gives it a fresh, harmonious feel. E/B is familiar in various music genres due to its versatility and pleasant resonance. Moreover, its usage can enrich a song’s harmony and add an exciting twist to the melody.

The chord, which seems to dance on the fine line between simple and sophisticated, invites you to explore uncharted territories of the musical universe, allowing you to paint your melodies with colourful and vibrant hues. Its richness lies in its harmonious blend of notes and its ability to evoke emotions and leave a lingering impression. 

Whether you’re a seasoned pianist or a budding beginner, E/B offers an opportunity to break away from the ordinary and experiment with something excitingly different. Its versatility makes it a perfect fit for any genre, be it classical, jazz, pop or rock. By including the E/B chord in your arsenal, you’ll bring a refreshing change to your piano-playing style, which can intrigue your listeners and keep them hooked to your performance. 

Moreover, learning and mastering E/B could open doors to understanding more complex musical techniques and theories. It’s a stepping stone towards expanding your musical knowledge and enhancing your creative expression. 

History of the E/B Piano Chord

History of the E/B Piano Chord

Tracing its roots back in time, we find the emergence of the E/B piano chord intricately intertwined with the evolution of Western music theory itself. As music transitioned from monophonic Gregorian chants to polyphonic melodies during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the rudimentary forms of chords began to take shape. The E/B chord, however, is a fascinating product of an era when musicians started to break free from the rigidity of classical scales and ventured into more modern, unconventional harmonies. 

This era, known as the Romantic Period, witnessed a revolutionary shift in music composition. Composers like Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms embraced the freedom to explore new sonic territories, unleashing their creativity through bold and dramatic chords like the E/B. These composers sought to evoke intense emotions in their listeners, pushing the boundaries of musical expression.

As the Romantic Period progressed, the E/B chord gained widespread recognition and acceptance. It became a defining feature of the era’s musical landscape, symbolising the departure from traditional norms and the embrace of individualism. The E/B chord captivated musicians and audiences alike with the intense emotions it could evoke, causing its popularity to soar.

The E/B Piano Chord in Modern Music

The turn of the 20th century marked the birth of jazz, a groundbreaking musical genre that revolutionised the music landscape. During this time, the E/B chord found a new home within jazz, infusing the genre with a distinctive bluesy feel and captivating listeners with its soulful tones.

As the 20th century progressed, the influence of the E/B chord expanded beyond jazz and made its way into the realms of pop and rock music. These dominant genres of the late 20th and early 21st centuries fully embraced the E/B chord, recognising its unique tonal quality as a means to add depth and versatility to their compositions. From iconic rock anthems to chart-topping pop hits, the E/B chord became a staple in the musical arsenal of countless artists, shaping the sound of an entire era.

Playing the E/B Piano Chord

YouTube player

Mastering the EB major chord on the piano is a voyage of discovery that requires patience, practice, and a keen ear for harmonics. It begins by positioning your fingers correctly on the keyboard: the thumb (1st finger) on E, the middle (3rd finger) on G#, and the pinky (5th finger) on B, the lowest note. Fondly known as the “jazzman’s friend”, it’s a robust mix of simple components that combine to produce a rich tapestry of sound. 

Inherently positive sounding, when played, it emits a warm and full-bodied sound utilised across multiple musical genres, from jazz to pop to rock. Whether crafting a soulful blues tune or a vibrant pop melody, the E/B chord can provide an interesting tonal variation to your music.

Indeed, its flexibility in transposing to other keys contributes to its popularity and widespread usage. The E/B chord is an avenue for expressing emotion and storytelling through music. As you continue your musical journey, remember that the beauty of the E/B chord lies in its versatility. It’s a blank canvas, open to interpretation and experimentation.

Common Chord Progressions

The E/B chord frequently finds itself in various compelling chord progressions, adding a touch of sophistication and depth. For instance, one common progression is the E/B – D – A – E sequence, prevalent in numerous classical and jazz compositions for its smooth transitions and musical resolutions. Equally notable is the C – G – D – E/B progression, a popular choice in the pop and rock genres for its catchy rhythm and harmonious balance.

Ultimately, the E/B chord provides a world of possibilities, facilitating musical creativity and exploration. By mastering its use in these progressions, musicians can unlock the full potential of this versatile chord, enriching their music and delighting their listeners.

Famous Songs That Use the E/B Piano Chord

Music is a universal language, and E/B plays a vital role in conversing with audiences worldwide. It has lent its voice to countless songs across diverse genres, adding depth and character to their melodies. In this section, we delve into a carefully curated selection of songs that beautifully incorporate the E/B chord into their composition. We’ll explore their unique musical elements, providing an insight into how it contributes to their overall sonic texture.

The Beatles – “Let It Be”

This iconic song by the Fab Four is famous for its timeless melody, and the inclusion of the E/B chord in its piano arrangement is pivotal. The Beatles’ ability to craft unforgettable tunes is evident in this particular composition. The E/B chord adds a distinctive touch to the overall sound, contributing to the song’s enduring popularity.

Adele – “Someone Like You”

Adele’s powerhouse vocals flawlessly combine with the hit song’s profound and resonant E/B chord. The combination of Adele’s raw talent and the melodic richness of this chord creates an unforgettable musical experience that captivates listeners worldwide.

John Lennon – “Imagine”

The E/B chord is a vital component of John Lennon’s peaceful anthem. This chord progression, consisting of the E major and B major chords, creates a unique and memorable sound that resonates with listeners. It is a signature element of Lennon’s songwriting style, adding depth and emotion to his music.

Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”

The E/B chord introduces an intriguing layer of intricacy to this timeless rock opera composition. Its distinct combination of notes adds a unique and captivating element to the overall musical arrangement. The chord creates a harmonious blend that enhances the complexity and depth of the piece.

Coldplay – “Clocks”

Coldplay’s “Clocks” is famous for its iconic piano riff, captivating listeners with its mesmerising allure. The use of the E/B chord, in particular, adds to the distinctive and hypnotic quality of the song. The listener enters a world of musical enchantment from the moment the first notes play.

George Gershwin – “Someone To Watch Over Me”

This classic jazz standard is a stunning display of musical artistry, with its piano composition skilfully highlighting the mesmerising E/B chord. The intricate arrangement effortlessly captures the essence of jazz, blending soulful melodies and captivating harmonies. Each note resonates with nostalgia, transporting listeners to a bygone era of sophistication and elegance. 

The E/B chord, delicately woven into the fabric of the composition, adds a unique touch of complexity and richness to the overall sound. Its subtle yet profound presence enhances the emotional depth of the piece. As a result, it evokes a range of feelings from joyous exuberance to heartfelt introspection.

John Legend – “All Of Me”

The smooth, soulful sound of E/B adds a captivating layer to John Legend’s heartfelt ballad, enriching the emotional intensity that resonates throughout the song. The song’s progression creates a harmonious blend of notes that evoke a sense of longing and vulnerability.

Elton John – “Your Song”

Elton John’s timeless and iconic ballad, “Your Song”, is a masterful composition that showcases his exceptional musical talent. The incorporation of E/B in this piece adds a touch of complexity and richness to the already memorable piano arrangement.

Appearing on his self-titled second studio album, 1970’s “Your Song” quickly captured the hearts of listeners around the world. With its heartfelt lyrics and soulful melody, it has become one of Elton John’s most beloved and enduring songs.

The Beatles – “Hey Jude”

1968’s “Hey Jude” quickly became a global sensation and remains one of the most beloved songs of all time. The E/B chord, or E major’s second inversion, is a distinctive element that adds a unique flavour to the song. It’s a prominent feature of the intro, creating a captivating and instantly recognisable melody.

Final Thoughts

The E/B chord, with its distinct resonance and versatility, remains a significant component within the vast lexicon of piano chords. Its unique tonal structure adds depth and complexity to musical compositions. Moreover, it creates a tone of tension and release that resonates with audiences. 

The E/B chord, or the second inversion of E Major, is an artistic tool that adds emotional richness to music. Accordingly, understanding and mastering it will benefit any pianist, allowing them to further enrich their musical repertoire.


closed button
Music Gateway Company Logo

Get started today

Join for Free