B (bee)

is the second letter of the English alphabet. (See Guide to Pronunciation, §§ 196,220.) It is etymologically related to p , v , f , w and m , letters representing sounds having a close organic affinity to its own sound; as in Eng. bursar and purser; Eng. bear and Lat. pear; Eng. silver and Ger. silber; Lat. cubitum and It. gomito; Eng. seven, Anglo-Saxon seofon, Ger. sieben, Lat. septem, Gr., Sanskrit saptan. The form of letter B is Roman, from Greek B (Beta), of Semitic origin. The small b was formed by gradual change from the capital B.

In Music, B is the nominal of the seventh tone in the model major scale (the scale of C major), or of the second tone in its relative minor scale (that of A minor). Bb stands for B flat, the tone a half step, or semitone, lower than B. In German, B stands for our Bb, while our B natural is called H (pronounced ha).


© Webster 1913.