A-flat minor is a minor scale based on A♭, consisting of the pitches A♭, B♭, C♭, D♭, E♭, F♭, and G♭. Its key signature has seven flats. Its relative major is C-flat major (or enharmonically B major), its parallel major is A-flat major, and its enharmonic equivalent is G-sharp minor.
The A-flat natural minor scale is:
Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with accidentals as necessary. The A-flat harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are:
Music in A-flat minor
Although A-flat minor occurs in modulation in works in other keys, it is only rarely used as the principal key of a piece of music. Some well-known uses of the key in classical and romantic piano music include:
- The Funeral March in Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 12, Op. 26.
- An early section of the last movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 31, Op. 110 (although the key signature of this section uses only 6 flats, not 7).
- The second Trio in Franz Schubert's Klavierstücke in E-flat major for Piano, D946/2.
- The first piece "Aime-moi" ("Love me") from Charles-Valentin Alkan's Trois morceaux dans le genre pathétique
- Max Bruch's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Op. 88a, although the piece ends in A-flat Major.
- The Evocación from Book I of Isaac Albéniz's Iberia.
- Isaac Albéniz's La Vega.
- Etude No.13 in Moritz Moszkowski's Études de Virtuosité, Op. 72, although it ends in A-flat major.
- Leoš Janáček uses it for his Violin Sonata and the organ solo of his Glagolitic Mass.
- The opening of Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird.
- Franz Liszt's original version of "La campanella" from Grandes études de Paganini, which was subsequently rewritten in G-sharp minor.
- In Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony, there is a particularly aggressive restatement of the introduction of the third movement in A-flat minor.
- The first movement of Charles Koechlin's Partita for Chamber Orchestra, Op. 205, is in A-flat minor, and the earlier A-flat-minor portion is written with a 7-flat key signature, but the later A-flat-minor portion is written without any key signature, and uses the necessary flats as accidentals.
- It is also used in Frederick Loewe's score to the 1956 musical play My Fair Lady; the Second Servants' Chorus is set in A-flat minor (the preceding and following choruses being a semitone lower and higher respectively).
More often, pieces in a minor mode that have A-flat's pitch as tonic are notated in the enharmonic key, G-sharp minor, because that key has just five sharps as opposed to the seven flats of A-flat minor.
In some scores, the A-flat minor key signature in the bass clef is written with the flat for the F on the second line from the top.[nb 1]