G minor
Relative keyB major
Parallel keyG major
Dominant keyD minor
SubdominantC minor
Component pitches
G, A, B, C, D, E, F

G minor has been considered the key through which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart best expressed sadness and tragedy,[1] and many of his minor key works are in G minor. Though Mozart touched on various minor keys in his symphonies, G minor is the only minor key he used as a main key for his numbered symphonies.

In the Classical period, symphonies in G minor almost always used four horns, two in G and two in B alto.[2] Another convention of G minor symphonies observed in Mozart's No. 25 and No. 40 was the choice of the subdominant of the relative key (B major), E major, for the slow movement; other non-Mozart examples of this practice include J. C. Bach Opus 6 No. 6 from 1769, Haydn's No. 39 (1768/69) and Johann Baptist Wanhal's G minor symphony sometime before 1771 (Bryan Gm1).[3]

Isolated sections in this key within Mozart's compositions may also evoke an atmosphere of grand tragedy, one example being the stormy G minor middle section to the otherwise serene B major slow movement in the Piano Concerto No. 20.

List of works in G minor

Further information: List of compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

See also


  1. ^ Hellmut Federhofer, foreword to the Bärenreiter Urtext of Mozart's Piano Quartet in G minor. Kassel: Bärenreiter Verlag (1958), p. iv. [1] "G-Moll war für Mozart zeitlebens die Schicksaltonart, die ihm für den Ausdruck des Schmerzes und der Tragik am geeignetsten erschien." ("G minor was, for Mozart, the most suitable fate-key throughout his life for the expression of pain and tragedy.")
  2. ^ H. C. Robbins Landon, Mozart and Vienna. New York: Schirmer Books (1991): 48. "Writing for four horns was a regular part of the Sturm und Drang G minor equipment." Robbins Landon also notes that Mozart's No. 40 was first intended to have four horns.
  3. ^ James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy, Elements of Sonata Theory (Oxford University Press: 2006) p. 328