9. Minor secrets and crucial Signatures9.1 Introduction

Chapter 8 discusses exactly how pieces that draw primarily native the pitches that a significant scale are said to it is in in that significant key. Similarly, piece that draw primarily indigenous the pitches of a minor scale—a scale based upon the W-H-W-W-H-W-W sample of entirety steps and fifty percent steps—are claimed to it is in in the minor key. Minor an essential signatures can an in similar way be obtained from the accidentals that the corresponding diatonic young scale.

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In this chapter we will talk about how a minor vital is constructed and also established as well as how minor key signatures space written and also used. (We will go back to this object once much more in thing 16, as soon as we comment on variant creates of the minor scale.)

9.2 minor keys

Chapter 6 discusses the building and construction of major scales and also the miscellaneous names given to each scale degree. Every one of the degrees of a minor scale have actually names as well. For the many part, these names space the same as those of major keys. The few differences are because of the reduced scale degrees \hat3, \hat6, and also \hat7. The following instance shows the three systems offered to label and refer to minor range degrees:


In labeling the measures of a boy scale, the scale level numbers space the very same as in major: \hat1, \hat2, \hat3, etc. The solfège valuation mi, la, and also ti are changed to me, le, and te to reflect the lowering the those range degrees. The only distinction in the scale level names is the scale level \hat7, in its lowered form, is now referred to together the subtonic.

The adhering to melody is adapted from Chopin’s second piano sonata. The is in a minor key:

example 9–2. Frédéric Chopin, Piano Sonata No.2 (Op. 35), III. Marche funèbre, mm. 1-10 (in A minor).


As with major keys, a melody or piece is said to be in a minor crucial if the uses primarily the pitches that a boy scale and gives the tonic a position of primary importance. This melody is in A minor: it begins and ends top top A and also uses the pitches that the diatonic A-minor scale (A, B, C, D, E, F, and also G). The tonic, A, is the most essential pitch in this melody. It serves as a stable starting point and also brings a sense of closure when it return at the end. All of the various other pitches are organized hierarchically around A and also have varying levels the stability. The Cs in mm. 5-8, for example, lug a feeling of arrival. Lock sound stable, however not as stable as the last A.

Were the melody in example 9–2 to be transposed to a different minor key, the brand-new tonic would be heard in the same method even despite the pitch level would certainly be different:

instance 9–3. Frédéric Chopin, Piano Sonata No.2 (Op. 35), III. Marche funèbre, mm. 1-10 (in Bb minor).


Example 9–3 transposes the melody to Bb minor (the initial key, as composed by Chopin). The now has actually a brand-new set the pitches (those that the Bb-minor scale) and Bb is heard together the new tonic.

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Now think about the complying with melody:

example 9–4 Louise Reichardt, 12 German & Italian Romantic Songs, 3. “Durch die bunten Rosenhecken,” mm. 1-8.


This melody is in F minor. Because that the most part, it provides the pitches of one F minor scale. Note, however, the it additionally includes E§ in m. 6. The presence of E§ walk not avoid the listener native hearing F together the tonic. In fact, that helps make the arrival on F sound an ext conclusive. Unlike their significant counterparts, minor scales are used in number of variant creates which incorporate one or much more pitch great from outside the diatonic scale. Us will comment on these changed versions of boy in thing 17. The continuing to be sections of this chapter will be involved only v the unaltered diatonic minor.