9. Minor secrets and key Signatures9.1 Introduction

Chapter 8 discusses exactly how pieces that attract primarily indigenous the pitches the a major scale are claimed to it is in in that significant key. Similarly, pieces that draw primarily indigenous the pitches that a minor scale—a scale based on the W-H-W-W-H-W-W pattern of entirety steps and half steps—are claimed to it is in in the minor key. Minor key signatures can similarly be obtained from the accidentals of the matching diatonic boy scale.

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In this chapter us will talk about how a minor vital is constructed and also established and how minor key signatures are written and used. (We will go back to this topic once an ext in thing 16, when we talk about variant develops of the minor scale.)

9.2 boy keys

Chapter 6 discusses the construction of significant scales and the assorted names offered to each scale degree. Every one of the degrees of a boy scale have names together well. For the most part, this names are the exact same as those of major keys. The few differences are due to the reduced scale levels \hat3, \hat6, and also \hat7. The following instance shows the three systems used to label and also refer to minor range degrees:


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

The following melody is adjusted from Chopin’s second piano sonata. That is in a boy 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 stated to it is in in a minor crucial if that uses primarily the pitches of a minor scale and also gives the tonic a position of major importance. This melody is in A minor: it begins and also ends ~ above A and uses the pitches the the diatonic A-minor scale (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G). The tonic, A, is the most necessary pitch in this melody. The serves together a stable starting point and also brings a feeling of closure when it return at the end. Every one of the various other pitches are organized hierarchically about A and also have varying levels of stability. The Cs in mm. 5-8, for example, bring a feeling of arrival. They sound stable, yet not as secure as the final A.

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

example 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 come Bb boy (the initial key, as created by Chopin). That now has a new set the pitches (those the the Bb-minor scale) and also Bb is heard together the brand-new tonic.

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Now take into consideration the complying with melody:

instance 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 many part, it provides the pitches of one F boy scale. Note, however, the it additionally includes E§ in m. 6. The presence of E§ does not protect against the listener indigenous hearing F as the tonic. In fact, that helps make the arrival on F sound more conclusive. Unequal their major counterparts, minor scales are supplied in numerous variant develops which include one or an ext pitch class from outside the diatonic scale. Us will comment on these transformed versions of boy in chapter 17. The staying sections of this chapter will certainly be pertained to only through the unaltered diatonic minor.