F minor

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F minor
{ \magnifyStaff #3/2 \omit Score.TimeSignature \key f \minor s16 \clef F \key f \minor s^"" }
Relative keyA-flat major
Parallel keyF major
Dominant keyC minor
SubdominantB-flat minor
Component pitches
F, G, A, B, C, D, E

F minor is a minor scale based on F, consisting of the pitches F, G, A, B, C, D, and E. Its key signature consists of four flats. Its relative major is A-flat major and its parallel major is F major. Its enharmonic equivalent, E-sharp minor, has six sharps and the double sharp Fdouble sharp, which makes it impractical to use.

Scale and scale-degree chords[edit]

The F natural minor scale is

 {
\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key f \minor \time 7/4 f^"F natural minor scale" g aes bes c des es f es des c bes aes g f2
  \clef F \key f \minor
} }

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

 {
\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key f \minor \time 7/4 f^"F harmonic minor scale" g aes bes c des e f e des c bes aes g f2
} }
 {
\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key f \minor \time 7/4 f^"F melodic minor scale (ascending and descending)" g aes bes c d e f es? des? c bes aes g f2
} }

The scale-degree chords of F minor are:

Music in F minor[edit]

Famous pieces in the key of F minor include Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, Ballade No. 4, Haydn's Symphony No. 49, La Passione and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

Glenn Gould once said if he could be any key, he would be F minor, because "it's rather dour, halfway between complex and stable, between upright and lascivious, between gray and highly tinted... There is a certain obliqueness."[1]

Hermann von Helmholtz once described F minor as harrowing and melancholy. Christian Schubart described this key as "Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave".[2]

Notable compositions[edit]

E-sharp minor[edit]

E-sharp minor
{ \magnifyStaff #3/2 \omit Score.TimeSignature \key eis \minor s16 \clef F \key eis \minor s^"" }

Alternative notation
{ \magnifyStaff #3/2 \omit Score.TimeSignature \set Staff.keyAlterations = #`((3 . ,SHARP)(0 . ,SHARP)(4 . ,SHARP)(1 . ,SHARP)(-2 . ,SHARP)(2 . ,SHARP)(-1 . ,SHARP)(3 . ,DOUBLE-SHARP)) s^"" }
Relative keyG-sharp major (theoretical)
enharmonic: A-flat major
Parallel keyE-sharp major (theoretical)
→enharmonic: F major
Dominant keyB-sharp minor (theoretical)
→enharmonic: C minor
SubdominantA-sharp minor
enharmonic: B-flat minor
EnharmonicF minor
Component pitches
E, Fdouble sharp, G, A, B, C, D

E-sharp minor is a theoretical key based on the musical note E, consisting of the pitches E, Fdouble sharp, G, A, B, C and D. Its key signature has one double sharp and six sharps (or eight sharps). Its relative major is G-sharp major, which is usually replaced by A-flat major. Its parallel major, E-sharp major, is usually replaced by F major, as E-sharp major’s four double-sharps make it impractical to use. It's enharmonic minor is F minor whose key signature has four flats. Because of that enharmonic relationship, it is usually noted as the enharmonic equivalent of F minor instead of E-sharp minor.

The E-sharp natural minor scale is:

 {
\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key eis \minor \time 7/4 eis^"Natural minor scale" fisis gis ais bis cis dis eis dis cis bis ais gis fisis eis2
  \clef F \key eis \minor
} }

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

 {
\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key eis \minor \time 7/4 eis^"Harmonic minor scale" fisis gis ais bis cis disis eis disis cis bis ais gis fisis eis2
} }
 {
\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key eis \minor \time 7/4 eis^"Melodic minor scale (ascending and descending)" fisis gis ais bis cisis disis eis dis? cis? bis ais gis fisis eis2
} }

Although E-sharp minor is usually notated as F minor, it could be used on a local level, such as bars 17 to 22 in Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, Prelude and Fugue No. 3 in C-sharp major. (E-sharp minor is the mediant minor key of C-sharp major.)

The scale-degree chords of E-sharp minor are:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cathering Meng, Tonight's the Night (Apostrophe Books, 2007): 21
  2. ^ "Musical Key Characteristics".

External links[edit]

  • Media related to F minor at Wikimedia Commons