C-sharp minor

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C minor
E Major key signature.png
Relative key E major
Parallel key C major
Notes in this scale
C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

C-sharp minor or C minor is a minor scale based on C. Its key signature has four sharps.

Its relative major is E major, and its parallel major is C-sharp major.

Classical music in this key[change | edit source]

There are very few symphonies written in this key. One of them is by Joseph Martin Kraus, but he later rewrote it in C minor. Another two are Mahler's Symphony No. 5 (though only the first movement is in C-sharp minor, and the finale is actually in D major[1]) and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 7. Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 2 is also in C-sharp minor.

This key occurs more often in piano music. Domenico Scarlatti wrotetwo keyboard sonatas in C-sharp minor, K. 246 and K. 247. But after Beethoven's famous Moonlight Sonata, the key became more popular for piano. Beethoven used this key again in the outer movements of his String Quartet No. 14 (Op. 131, 1826). However, Johannes Brahms rewrote his C-sharp minor Piano Quartet to be published as Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60. One of the most famous pieces in this key is Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu. Other works include Chopin's Nocturnes No. 7 (Op. 27, No. 1) and No. 20 (Op. posth.), and his "Raindrop" Prelude in D-flat major (Op. 28, No. 15). Another very famous example of a work in C sharp minor is Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor (Op. 3, No. 2).

References[change | edit source]

  1. Constantin Floros, translated by Vernon Wicker: Gustav Mahler: The Symphonies (Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1985) p. 141 "the choice of key of the movements (C-sharp minor—A minor—D major—F major—D major);"