D-flat minor

See also: C-sharp minor
D minor
Relative key F major
enharmonic: E major
Parallel key D major
Dominant key A minor
enharmonic: G minor
Subdominant G minor
enharmonic: F minor
Enharmonic C minor
Component pitches
D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D

D-flat minor is a theoretical key based on the musical note D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, C and D.  Play  Its key signature has six flats and one double flat. The harmonic minor raises C♭ to C.[1]

D♭ minor is usually notated as the enharmonic key of C♯ minor, as in the second and third measures of Amy Beach's Canticle of the Sun.[2] However, two of Verdi's most well-known operas, La traviata and Rigoletto, unusually, both end very decisively in D minor (although written with the five-flat key signature of the parallel major). Mahler's thematic motif "der kleine Appell" ("call to order") from his Fourth and Fifth Symphonies uses both notations: in his Symphony No. 4 (first movement) it is in D minor, but in his Symphony No. 5 it is in C minor. In the Adagio of his Symphony No. 9 a solo bassoon interpolation following the main theme appears first in D minor, returning twice more notated in C minor. Likewise, in the Adagio of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, phrases that are tonally in D minor are notated as C minor.[3][4][5][6]


  1. Thomas Busby (1840). "D Flat Minor". A dictionary of three thousand musical terms. revised by James Alexander Hamilton. London: D'Almaine and Co. p. 55.
  2. Amy Beach & Betty Buchanan (2006). The Canticle of the Sun. A-R Editions, Inc. p. xiii. ISBN 0-89579-583-3.
  3. Ernst Levy (1985). A Theory of Harmony. SUNY Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-87395-993-0.
  4. James L. Zychowicz (2005). "Structural Considerations". Mahler's Fourth Symphony. Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-19-816206-5.
  5. Eero Tarasti (1996). "Music history revisited". In Eero Tarasti; Paul Forsell; Richard Littlefield. Musical Semiotics in Growth. Indiana University Press. pp. 1415. ISBN 0-253-32949-3.
  6. Theodor W. Adorno (1992). Mahler: A Musical Physiognomy. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. University of Chicago Press. pp. 165166. ISBN 0-226-00769-3.

Scales and keys

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