D-flat minor
{ \new Staff \with{ \magnifyStaff #3/2 } << \time 2/16 \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f { \clef treble \key des \minor s16 \clef bass \key des \minor s16 } >> }
Relative keyF-flat major (theoretical)
enharmonic: E major
Parallel keyD-flat major
Dominant keyA-flat minor
enharmonic: G-sharp minor
SubdominantG-flat minor (theoretical)
enharmonic: F-sharp minor
EnharmonicC-sharp minor
Component pitches
D, E, F, G, A, B
double flat
, C

D-flat minor is a theoretical key based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Its key signature has six flats and one double flat. Its relative major is F-flat major, which is usually replaced by E major. Its parallel major is D-flat major, and its direct enharmonic equivalent, C-sharp minor, is normally used.

The D-flat natural minor scale is:

\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
  \clef treble \key des \minor \time 7/4 des4^\markup { Natural minor scale } es fes ges aes beses ces des ces beses aes ges fes es des2
  \clef bass \key des \minor
} }

Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with accidentals as necessary. The D-flat harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are:

\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
  \clef treble \key des \minor \time 7/4 des4^\markup { Harmonic minor scale } es fes ges aes beses c des c beses aes ges fes es des2
} }
\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
  \clef treble \key des \minor \time 7/4 des4^\markup { Melodic minor scale } es fes ges aes bes c des ces! beses! aes ges fes es des2
} }

D-flat minor is usually notated as the enharmonic key of C-sharp minor, as in the second and third measures of Amy Beach's Canticle of the Sun.[1] However, unusually, two of Verdi's most well-known operas, La traviata and Rigoletto, both end in D-flat minor (although written with the five-flat key signature of the parallel major). Mahler's thematic motif "der kleine Appell" ("call to order") from his Fourth and Fifth Symphonies uses both notations: in his Symphony No. 4 (first movement) it is in D-flat minor, but in his Symphony No. 5 it is in C-sharp minor. In the Adagio of his Symphony No. 9, a solo bassoon interpolation following the main theme appears first in D-flat minor, returning twice more notated in C-sharp minor. Likewise, in the Adagio of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, phrases that are tonally in D-flat minor are notated as C-sharp minor.[2][3][4][5]


  1. ^ Amy Beach & Betty Buchanan (2006). The Canticle of the Sun. A-R Editions, Inc. p. xiii. ISBN 0-89579-583-3.
  2. ^ Ernst Levy (1985). A Theory of Harmony. SUNY Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-87395-993-0.
  3. ^ James L. Zychowicz (2005). "Structural Considerations". Mahler's Fourth Symphony. Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-19-816206-5.
  4. ^ Eero Tarasti (1996). "Music history revisited". In Eero Tarasti; Paul Forsell; Richard Littlefield (eds.). Musical Semiotics in Growth. Indiana University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-253-32949-3.
  5. ^ Theodor W. Adorno (1992). Mahler: A Musical Physiognomy. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. University of Chicago Press. pp. 165–166. ISBN 0-226-00769-3.