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C-sharp minor

 

C-sharp minor

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C-sharp minor or C minor is a minor scale based on C, with the pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. For the C-sharp harmonic minor, the B is raised to B. Its key signature consists of four sharps (see below: Scales and keys).

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

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

Classical music in this key

There are only two known symphonies in the 18th century written in this key. One of them is by Joseph Martin Kraus, but he appears to have found the key difficult since he later rewrote it in C minor. Even in the following two centuries C-sharp minor symphonies remained rare. Two notable examples 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.

This key occurs more often in piano literature, however, from the 18th Century onwards. Domenico Scarlatti wrote just two keyboard sonatas in C-sharp minor, K. 246 and K. 247. But after Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight Sonata), the key became more frequent in the piano repertoire. Beethoven himself used this key again in the outer movements of his String Quartet No. 14 (Op. 131, 1826). Even so, Johannes Brahms still felt the need to rewrite his C-sharp minor Piano Quartet in C minor, which was published as Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60.

Frédéric Chopin often wrote in this key: examples include the Fantaisie-Impromptu, Scherzo No. 3 (Op. 39), and nocturnes No. 7 (Op. 27, No. 1) and No. 20 (Lento con gran espressione). Another very famous example of a work in C-sharp minor is Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor (Op. 3, No. 2).

Piano concertos written in C-sharp minor include Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Op. 17, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Piano Concerto, and others by Ferdinand Ries, Xaver Scharwenka, Amy Beach, Miriam Hyde and Issay Dobrowen. Dmitri Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 2 is in C-sharp minor.

Jules Van Nuffel wrote his psalm setting In convertendo Dominus for choir and organ in C-sharp minor.


References

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