E-flat minor

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E minor
G-flat-major e-flat-minor.svg
Relative key G major
Parallel key E major
Dominant key B minor
Subdominant A minor
Enharmonic D minor
Component pitches
E, F, G, A, B, C, D
E-flat natural minor scale ascending and descending. About this sound Play 
E-flat harmonic minor scale ascending and descending. About this sound Play 
E-flat melodic minor scale ascending and descending. About this sound Play 

E-flat minor is a minor scale consisting of the pitches E, F, G, A, B, C, and D. In the harmonic minor, the D is raised to D. Its key signature consists of six flats.

Its relative major is G major (or enharmonically F major) and its parallel major is E major. Its enharmonic equivalent is D minor. Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with accidentals as necessary.

In classical music[edit]

Despite the key rarely being used in orchestral music other than to modulate, it is encountered in a small fraction of keyboard music, and has been most popular in Russian pieces.[citation needed]

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

Beethoven applied E-flat 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-flat major/C minor (three flats).

Souvenir de Porto Rico, Op. 31, by Louis Moreau Gottschalk is a piano composition in E-flat minor.

The final piece in Brahms Klavierstücke, Op. 118, No. 6, is in E-flat minor. The piece, like many pieces in this key, is dark and funereal, being based on the Dies irae chant.

Schubert ended his Impromptus in E-flat major, D. 899 No. 2 in E-flat minor, parallel key to E-flat major, and so did Brahms in his Rhapsody in E-flat major, Op. 119 No. 4.

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

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

One of the few symphonies written in this key is Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6, where none of these three movements ends in E-flat minor. 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-flat minor while studying under Myaskovsky.

E-flat 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, is in E-flat minor, as well as Johannes Brahms's only independent Scherzo, Op. 4.

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

Oskar Böhme's Trumpet Sextet, Op. 30 is written in E-flat minor.

The waltz "On the Hills of Manchuria" by Ilya Alekseevich Shatrov (ru), about the loss of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, is written in E-flat minor. As mentioned, E-flat 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-flat minor, as is the dark orchestral introduction to Beethoven's only oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives.

In modern compositions[edit]

Guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen has composed a number of pieces in E-flat 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.

External links[edit]