C minor is a minor scale based on C, consisting of the pitches C, D, E♭, F, G, A♭, and B♭. Its key signature consists of three flats. Its relative major is E♭ major and its parallel major is C major.
The C natural minor scale is:
Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with accidentals as necessary. The C harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are:
In the Baroque period, music in C minor was usually written with a two-flat key signature, and some modern editions of that repertoire retain that convention.
Joseph Haydn wrote the first piano sonata, No. 20, in C minor (H.XVI No. 20). Of the two piano concertos that Mozart wrote in a minor key, one of them (No. 24, K. 491) is in C minor.
Beethoven wrote some of his most characteristic works in the key of C minor, including the Symphony No. 5 and three of his piano sonatas. (See Beethoven and C minor.)
Brahms's first symphony and first string quartet were composed in C minor; these were both genres with which Beethoven was closely associated during Brahms's lifetime.
Three of Anton Bruckner's ten numbered symphonies are in C minor, as are two of Dmitri Shostakovich's symphonies.
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