A-flat minor

See also: G-sharp minor and A minor
A minor
Relative key C major
enharmonic: B major
Parallel key A major
Dominant key E minor
Subdominant D minor
enharmonic: C minor
Enharmonic G minor
Component pitches
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A
A-flat natural minor scale ascending and descending.  Play 
A-flat harmonic minor scale ascending and descending.  Play 
A-flat melodic minor scale ascending and descending.  Play 

A-flat minor is a minor scale based on A-flat, consisting of the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. For the harmonic minor, the G is raised to G. Its key signature has seven flats (see below: Scales and keys).

Its relative major is C♭ major (or, enharmonically, B major), and its parallel major is A♭ major. Its direct enharmonic equivalent is G♯ minor.

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

Although A-flat minor occurs in modulation in works in other keys, it is only rarely used as the principal key of a piece of music. Some well-known uses of the key in classical and romantic piano music include:

It is also used in Frederick Loewe's score to the 1956 musical play My Fair Lady; the Second Servants' Chorus is set in A-flat minor (the preceding and following choruses being a semitone lower and higher respectively).

More often, pieces in a minor mode that have A-flat's pitch as tonic are notated in the enharmonic key, G-sharp minor, because of G-sharp's appreciably simpler key signature and it has just five sharps as opposed to the seven flats of A-flat minor. As a result, only works expressly notated as such may reasonably be considered to be in A-flat minor.

In some scores, the A minor key signature in the bass clef is written with the flat for the F on the second line from the top.[nb 1]

Scales and keys


  1. An example of this is the bass clef staff of the harp parts in the Jupiter movement of Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets.[2]


  1. Mahler, Gustav. Symphony No. 9 in Full Score, Dover, ISBN 0-486-27492-6 (1993), pp. 116-119.
  2. Holst, Gustav. The Planets in Full Score, Dover, ISBN 0-486-29277-0 (1996), p. 109.

External links

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