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B minor

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B minor
D-major h-minor.svg
Relative key D major
Parallel key B major
Notes in this scale
B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B

B minor is a minor scale based on B. The harmonic minor raises the A to A. Its key signature has two sharps.

Its relative major is D major, and its parallel major is B major.

In Baroque times, people thought that B minor was the key of passive suffering.[1] Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (1739-1791) said that it was a key that was complaining gently and quietly, something that matches Bach's use of the key in the St. John's Passion.[2] By Beethoven's time, B minor had changed in people's minds: Francesco Galeazzi wrote that B minor was not suitable for music in good taste, and Beethoven labelled a B minor melodic idea in one of his sketchbooks as a "black key".[3] The chord was famously used as the first chord in Pink Floyd's 1979 hit "Comfortably Numb", commonly renowned to be a very emotional and melancholic song.[source?] The second movement of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, one of the most famous compositions for the classical guitar, is in B minor.

It is a common key used in rock, folk, country and other guitarist-based styles because a guitar is naturally tuned so that all the open strings are notes in B minor.

Well-known Classical pieces in this key


  1. Xinh's JS Bach B-Minor Mass Balance. Retrieved January 20, 2007.
  2. Michael C. Tusa, "Beethoven's "C-Minor Mood": Some Thoughts on the Structural Implications of Key Choice" in Beethoven Forum 2, Christoph Reynolds, ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press (1993): 2 - 3, n. 5
  3. Ibid, 2, n. 3