Rachel from Harrogate, Tennessee, says when she was growing up in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, she and her fellow musicians used the term B-flat as slang for “ordinary” or “average.” In the 1938 publication New York Panorama, a guidebook to New York State put out by the Works Progress Administration, there’s a section on the language of jazz in New York City, which includes a definition of B-flat as “dull” and another for G-flat, meaning “brilliant.” B-flat is also slang for “bedbug.”

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