A-flat major

A-flat major

Infobox Scale

relative=F minor
parallel=Amusic|flat minor
: "Also see: A-flat minor, or A major."

Amusic|flat major or A-flat major is a major scale based on A-flat, consisting of the pitches Amusic|flat, Bmusic|flat, C, Dmusic|flat, Emusic|flat, F, and G. Its key signature has four flats ("see below:" Scales and keys).

Its relative minor is F minor, and its parallel minor is A-flat minor.

The key is said to have a peaceful, serene feel, and was used quite often by Franz Schubert. Twenty-four of Frédéric Chopin's piano pieces are in A flat major, more than any other key.

Beethoven chose A-flat major as the key of the slow movement for most of his C minor works, a practice which Anton Bruckner imitated in his first two C minor symphonies and also Antonín Dvořák in his only C minor symphony.Since A-flat major was not often chosen as the main key for orchestral works of the 18th Century, passages or movements in the key often retained the timpani settings of the preceding movement. For example, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor has the timpani set to C and G for the first movement. With hand tuned timpani, there is no time to retune the timpani to A flat and E flat for the slow second movement in A flat. In Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in C minor, however, the timpani are retuned between the first movement in C minor and the following in A-flat major.

Charles-Marie Widor considered A-flat major to be the second best key for flute music. [Charles-Marie Widor, "Manual of Practical Instrumentation" translated by Edward Suddard, Revised Edition. London: Joseph Williams, Ltd. (1946) Reprinted Mineola, New York: Dover (2005): 11. "No key suits it [the flute] better than Dmusic|flat [major] . ... Amusic|flat [major] is likewise an excellent key."]

Sir Edward Elgar's Symphony No. 1 in A-flat major is probably the best-known symphony in that key in the standard orchestral repertoire. However, Arnold Bax's last symphony, no. 7, is also in the same key. A-flat major is the flattest major key Domenico Scarlatti used in his keyboard sonatas, though he used it only twice, in K. 127 and K. 130. Felix Mendelssohn and John Field each wrote one piano concerto in A-flat (Mendelssohn's being for two pianos); they had the horns and trumpet tuned to E-flat.


cales and keys

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