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D minor

D minor
{ \magnifyStaff #3/2 \omit Score.TimeSignature \key d \minor s16 \clef F \key d \minor s^"" }
Relative keyF major
Parallel keyD major
Dominant keyA minor
SubdominantG minor
Component pitches
D, E, F, G, A, B, C

D minor is a minor scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature has one flat. Its relative major is F major and its parallel major is D major.



The D natural minor scale is:

\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key d \minor \time 7/4 d e f g a bes c d c bes a g f e d2
  \clef F \key d \minor
} }

Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with accidentals as necessary. The D harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are:

\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key d \minor \time 7/4 d^"D harmonic minor scale" e f g a bes cis d cis bes a g f e d2
} }
\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c' {
  \key d \minor \time 7/4 d^"D melodic minor scale (ascending and descending)" e f g a b cis d c! bes! a g f e d2
} }

Scale-degree chords


The scale-degree chords of D minor are:

Music in D minor


Of Domenico Scarlatti's 555 keyboard sonatas, 151 are in minor keys, and with 32 sonatas, D minor is the most often chosen minor key.

The Art of Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach is in D minor.

Michael Haydn's only minor-key symphony, No. 29, is in D minor.

According to Alfred Einstein, the history of tuning has led D minor to be associated with counterpoint and chromaticism (for example, the chromatic fourth), and cites Bach's Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903, in D minor.[1] Mozart's Requiem is written primarily in D minor, as are the famous Queen of the Night Aria, "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen", the ouverture and the final scene of Don Giovanni. Of the two piano concertos that Mozart wrote in a minor key, one of them is in D minor: Piano Concerto No. 20, K. 466. Furthermore, his String Quartet No. 13, K. 173, and String Quartet No. 15, K. 421, are also in D minor.

The only chamber music compositions in D minor by Ludwig van Beethoven are his stormy Piano Sonata No. 17 and the haunting Largo of the Ghost Trio Op. 70/1. Franz Schubert's String Quartet No. 14 (Death and the Maiden) is in D minor. A number of Gabriel Fauré's chamber music works are written in D minor, including the Piano Trio Op. 120, the First Piano Quintet Op. 89, and the First Cello Sonata Op. 109. Arnold Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht is in D minor, as is his String Quartet No. 1.

Since D minor is the key of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Anton Bruckner felt apprehensive about writing his own Symphony No. 9 in the same key.[2] As well as Bruckner's First Mass and Third Symphony, multiple other post-Beethoven symphonies are in D minor, including Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 4, the only Symphony written by César Franck, Dvořák's Seventh Symphony and Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler.

Jean Sibelius often reserved the key of D minor for compositions he saw as being of a noble character; the Violin Concerto, the Sixth Symphony, and the string quartet Voces intimae are each in the key.

The tonality of D minor held special significance for Helene and Alban Berg.[3]

D minor is particularly recurrent in the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, with pieces written in the key occupying close to one eighth of his total compositional output, including the Third Piano Concerto; the Piano Sonata No. 1; the Symphony No. 1; the Trio élégiaque No. 2; the Études-Tableaux, Op. 33, No. 4; and Op. 39, No. 8; the Corelli Variations; and the symphonic poem Prince Rostislav.

Works in the classical music era and later beginning in minor typically end in major, or at least on a major chord (such as a picardy third), but there are a few notable examples of works in D minor ending in much sharper keys. Two symphonies that begin in D minor and end in E major are Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony and Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 4 (The Inextinguishable). Franz Liszt's Dante Symphony opens in D minor and ends in B major.

Similar to a D minor symphony ending in D major, as with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, a D major symphony can have for its allegro first movement a slow introduction in D minor. Robbins Landon wrote that "Tonic minor Adagio introductions, especially in the key of D minor, were very popular with English composers of the year 1794", and Joseph Haydn copied this procedure for the D major symphonies he wrote in London.[4]

Film composer Hans Zimmer is one of the most prominent users of the key of D minor in modern times. Many of his well-known scores were written in the key; notable examples are Gladiator, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Da Vinci Code. His frequent use of the key has been noticed by reviewers such as Christian Clemmensen of, who has called the trend "ridiculous stubbornness".[5]

Other notable compositions


See also



  1. ^ Alfred Einstein, Mozart, His Character, His Work, Chapter 10, "Mozart's Choice of Keys", New York: Oxford University Press (1945)
  2. ^ Hans-Hubert Schönzeler, Bruckner, London: Calder & Boyars (1978): 106–107. According to Göllerich, he [Bruckner] made the remark: "It really annoys me that the theme of my new symphony is in D minor, because everybody will say now: 'Of course, Bruckner's Ninth must be in the same key as Beethoven's!'"
  3. ^ Pople, Anthony (1997). "Early Works: Tonality and Beyond", The Cambridge Companion to Berg, p. 81. Pople, Anthony, ed. ISBN 0-521-56489-1.
  4. ^ H. C. Robbins Landon, Supplement to The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn London: Barrie & Rockliff (1961): 47
  5. ^ Clemmensen, Christian. "The Dark Knight Rises Review". Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  • Media related to D minor at Wikimedia Commons
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D minor
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