E major

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E major
E-major c-sharp-minor.svg
Relative keyC-sharp minor
Parallel keyE minor
Dominant keyB major
SubdominantA major
Component pitches
E, F, G, A, B, C, D

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

The E major scale is:

\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
  \clef treble \key e \major \time 7/4 e4 fis gis a b cis dis e dis cis b a gis fis e2
  \clef bass \key e \major
} }

Music in E major[edit]

Antonio Vivaldi used this key for the "Spring" concerto from The Four Seasons.

Johann Sebastian Bach used E major for a violin concerto, as well as for his third partita for solo violin; the key is especially appropriate for the latter piece because its tonic (E) and subdominant (A) correspond to open strings on the violin, enhancing the tone colour (and ease of playing) of the bariolage in the first movement.

Only two of Joseph Haydn's 104 symphonies are in E major: No. 12 and No. 29.

Beethoven used the key of E major for two of his piano sonatas, Op. 14/1 and Op. 109.

Starting with Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, several works in the key of C minor began to have slow movements in E major, three examples of which are Johannes Brahms' First Symphony and Piano Quartet No. 3, and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.

Frédéric Chopin's First Piano Concerto starts in E minor, but the last two movements are in E major. His Étude Op. 10, No. 3, one of his best known works, is in E major. His last Nocturne, Op. 62 No. 2, and his final Scherzo no. 4, are also in E major.

Felix Mendelssohn used this key for the finale of his well-known Violin Concerto in E Minor, exploiting these advantages for the solo voice.

Even in the 19th century, symphonies in this key were rare, with Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 being one of very few examples (see list of symphonies in E major). For Bruckner, "the key of E major is frequently associated with music of contemplation."[1]

Alexander Scriabin composed his ambitious first Symphony in E major.

Two symphonies that begin in D minor and end in E major are Havergal Brian's Symphony No. 1 (Gothic) and Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 4.

More typically, however, some symphonies that begin in E minor switch to E major for the finale, such as Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10.

In Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture, the first movement and the finale are in E major. Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser overture is also in E major.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Philip Barford, Bruckner Symphonies Seattle: University of Washington Press (1978): 52

External links[edit]

  • Media related to E major at Wikimedia Commons