E-flat minor

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E minor
G-flat-major e-flat-minor.svg
Relative keyG major
enharmonic: F major
Parallel keyE major
Dominant keyB minor
SubdominantA minor
enharmonic: G minor
EnharmonicD minor
Component pitches
E, F, G, A, B, C, D

E minor is a minor scale based on E, consisting of the pitches E, F, G, A, B, C, and D. Its key signature consists of six flats.

The E natural minor scale is:

\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
  \clef treble \key es \minor \time 7/4
  es4^\markup { Natural minor scale } f ges aes bes ces des es des ces bes aes ges f es2
} }

Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with accidentals as necessary. The E harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are:

\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
  \clef treble \key es \minor \time 7/4
  es4^\markup { Harmonic minor scale } f ges aes bes ces d es d ces bes aes ges f es2
} }
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
  \clef treble \key es \minor \time 7/4
  es4^\markup { Melodic minor scale (ascending and descending) } f ges aes bes c d es des! ces! bes aes ges f es2
} }

The direct enharmonic equivalent of E minor is D minor, a key signature with six sharps.

Its relative major is G major (or enharmonically F major) and its parallel major is E major.

Music in E minor[edit]

In the 24 canonic keys, most of the composers preferred E minor, while Bach, Lyapunov, and Ponce preferred D minor.

In Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude No. 8 is written in E minor while the following fugue is written in D minor. In Book 2, both movements are in D minor.

Haydn's Piano Trio No. 41, H. XV.31 in two movements, composed in 1794/95, one of the "London Trios", is in the key of E minor.[1]

Beethoven applied E minor to the slow introduction in the sixth (last) movement of his Septet Op. 20 by adding accidentals while bearing the key signature of E major/C minor (three flats).

The final piece in Brahms' Klavierstücke, Op. 118, No. 6, is in E minor. The piece, like many pieces in this key, is dark and funereal, being based on the Dies irae chant. Schubert ended his Impromptus No. 2, D. 899 in E minor, the parallel key to E major, and so did Brahms in his Rhapsody No. 4, Op. 119.

Chopin wrote his Etude No.6, Op. 10, his Polonaise No. 2, Op. 26, and his Prelude No. 14, Op. 28 in E minor.

Janáček's Piano Sonata, 1. X. 1905, arguably his best-known work for the piano, is in E minor.

Alkan composed the final movement for Symphony for Solo Piano (12 etudes in all the minor keys, Op. 39, no. 7) in E minor, as well as his Prelude Op. 31, No. 22 "Anniversaire" and Three pieces in the pathetic style, Op. 13, No. 3 "Death".

One of the few symphonies written in this key is Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6, where none of these three movements ends in the minor key. A few other less well-known composers also wrote symphonies in this key, such as Andrei Eshpai, Jānis Ivanovs (fourth symphony Sinfonia Atlantida, 1941), Ovchinnikov and Nikolai Myaskovsky. Aram Khachaturian wrote his Toccata in E minor while studying under Myaskovsky.

E minor the key in which Dmitri Shostakovich composed his fifteenth and final string quartet.

Alexander Scriabin's Prelude No. 14 from his 24 Preludes, Op. 11, and 10th Mazurka from his Op. 3 are in E minor, as well as Johannes Brahms's only independent Scherzo, Op. 4.

Sergei Rachmaninoff's Elegie, Op. 3, No. 1, is in E minor, as is his Étude-Tableau, Op. 39, No. 5. These pieces are noted for being dark and mysterious (a characteristic of this key).

The waltz "On the Hills of Manchuria" by Ilya Alekseevich Shatrov, about the loss of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, is written in E minor. As mentioned, E minor is common in Russian pieces. "On the Hills of Manchuria" is perhaps the most notable example.

The extended orchestral introduction to part 2 of Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony is in E minor, as is the dark orchestral introduction to Beethoven's only oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives.

Guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen has composed a number of pieces in E minor, including the Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra..

Jazz compositions "'Round Midnight" and "Take Five" are also in this key.


  • A. Morris, "Symphonies, Numbers And Keys" in Bob's Poetry Magazine, III.3, 2006.
  1. ^ "Piano Trio in E flat minor, Hob XV:31 (Haydn) - from CDA67757 - Hyperion Records - MP3 and Lossless downloads". www.hyperion-records.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-02-26.

External links[edit]