E♭ minor or E-flat minor is a minor scale based on E-flat. Its key signature has six flats.
Its relative major is G-flat major, and its parallel major is E-flat major. Its enharmonic equivalent is D-sharp minor.
This key is not used much in orchestral music, and usually only to modulate. It is used in some keyboard pieces and has been most popular in Russian pieces. If piano music in this key must be arranged for orchestra, some people recommend transposing it into D minor or E minor.
In book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude No. 8 is written in E-flat minor while the following Fugue is written in D-sharp minor. In book 2, both movements are in D-sharp minor.
One of the few symphonies written in this key is Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6. A few other Soviet composers also wrote symphonies in this key, such as Eshpai, Janis Ivanovs (fourth symphony Atlantis, 1941), Ovchinnikov and Myaskovsky. Rachmaninov's "Elegie", Op. 3 No. 1 is in E-flat minor, as is his Études-Tableaux Op. 39 #5. These pieces are noted for being dark and mysterious, a mood this key has. This mood is shown even in the later jazz music "'Round Midnight" and "Take Five", which are also in the key.
The second movement to Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony has a long orchestral and choral introduction in E-flat minor. The dark orchestral introduction to Beethoven's only oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives, is also in this key.
Scales and keys
Diatonic Scales and Keys
|The table shows the number of sharps or flats in each scale. Minor scales are written in lower case.
- A. Morris, "Symphonies, Numbers And Keys" in Bob's Poetry Magazine, III.3, 2006.