Definitions

minor key

Major/minor

For information on major/minor tonality, see Tonality or Major and minor

This term is used to refer to a musical composition that begins in a major key and ends in a minor key (generally the tonic minor), specifying the keynote (as C major/minor). This is a very unusual form in tonal music, but its opposite (minor/major) is a musical platitude, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 being perhaps the most notable example. This probably stems from the use of the tierce de picardie used in Medieval and Elizabethan music.

Following is a list of major/minor works (not always called as such):

Major/minor works retaining the same keynote

Single works and miniatures

  • A. Scarlatti - Se Florindo e Fidele (ending changed to major in several editions)
  • D. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata K. 63 (L. 84) in G ("Capriccio") (ending changed to major in many editions)
  • D. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata K. 107 (L. 474) in F
  • D. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata K. 140 (L. 107) in D
  • D. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata K. 182 (L. 139) in A
  • D. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata K 206 (L. 257) in E
  • D. Scarlatti - Keyboard Sonata K. 297 (L.S. 19) in F
  • Schubert - Impromptu Op. 90 No. 2 in E flat
  • Schubert - Moment Musical No. 6 in A flat
  • Schubert - Tränenregen (No. 10 of Die Schöne Müllerin)
  • Schubert - Die Böse Farbe (No. 17 of Die Schöne Müllerin)
  • Schubert - Frühlingstraum (No. 11 of Winterreise)
  • Mendelssohn - Characteristic Piece Op. 7 No. 7 in E (a rare if not unique example of a "reverse picardy third")
  • Mendelssohn - Rondo Capriccioso in E major, Op. 14
  • Mendelssohn - Capriccio in E major/minor, Op. 118 (1837)
  • Mendelssohn - Andante Cantabile e Presto Agitato in B
  • Chopin - Nocturne Op. 32 No. 1 in B (The last chord is wrongly changed to major in many editions.)
  • Schumann - No. 17 of Davidsbündlertänze, Opus 6 (B)
  • Brahms - Rhapsody Op. 119 No. 4 in E flat
  • Tchaikovsky - Valse-Scherzo Op. 7 in A
  • Strauss - Don Juan, Op. 20
  • Fibich - Malířské Studie (Studies on Painters), No. 2, Spor Masopustu s Postem (Dispute between Carnival and Fast) in C
  • Scriabin - Mazurka in F (1889)
  • Lecuona - La 32, No. 6 of Siete Danzas Cubanas Tipicas (Gb major/F# minor)
  • Bax - The Devil that Tempted St. Anthony

Movements from larger works

  • Marais - Sonata à la Marésienne (La Gamme et Autres Morceaux de Simphonie 1723), iii (C-c)
  • Vivaldi - Concerto for Strings & Continuo in G, R151 ("Alla Rustica"), i
  • Couperin - Pieces de Clavecin, Troisieme Livre, "L'enjouee" (G-g)
  • Handel - Messiah, "For We Like Sheep" (F-f)
  • Mozart - Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Quintet (Wie? Wie? Wie? Ihr an diesem Schreckensort?), Act II (G-g)
  • Beethoven - Violin Sonata No. 9, "Kreutzer", i (A-a)
  • Beethoven - Piano trio No. 6 in E flat major, ii (C-c)
  • Mendelssohn - String Quartet Op. 13 in A, i (Begins with a slow A major introduction which returns at the end of iv)
  • Lalo - Symphony in G Minor, ii (Scherzo)
  • Sibelius - Symphony No. 4 in a minor, Op. 63, iv
  • Dvořák - Piano Trio ("Dumky") Op. 90 in E minor, v (Movement is in Eb major-minor)
  • Chausson - Piano Trio in G Minor, iv
  • Poulenc - Concert Champêtre for Harpsichord and Orchestra, iii
  • Poulenc - Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, iii

Multi-movement works

  • Mozart - Piano suite in C major/minor (although it really is incomplete and ends in E flat major)
  • Boieldieu - Harp Concerto in C major
  • Mendelssohn - Symphony No. 4 in A major, "Italian"
  • Alkan - Sonate de Concert for Cello and Piano in E major, Op. 47
  • Brahms - Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 (two versions; 1854 and 1891: both end in B minor)
  • Dvořák - Czech Suite in D major, Op. 39
  • Alfvén - Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 11
  • Bernstein - Chichester Psalms

Controversial examples

  • Beethoven - Piano Sonata Op. 109, i and ii (although two separate movements, they are often played together as one)

Major/minor works changing the keynote

  • Beethoven - String Quartet in e, opus 59 no. 2 (Rasoumovsky Quartet No. 2), iv (C-e)
  • Schubert - Piano Sonata in C (C-a; this sonata lacks a fourth movement after the minuet)
  • Chopin - Ballade no. 2 (F-a)
  • Schumann - No. 16 of Davidsbūndlertänze (G-b)
  • Schumann - Réplique, No. 8 of Carnaval (Bb-g)
  • Schumann - Kreisleriana, No. 4 (Bb-d) (First edition. Second ends on a D major chord)
  • Tchaikovsky - Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50, ii (E-a)
  • Tchaikovsky - The Sleeping Beauty - Finale and Apotheosis (D-g)
  • Bizet - Carmen - Seguidilla (F#-b)
  • Massenet - Piano Concerto (Eb-c)
  • Enesco - Cantabile e Presto for Flute and Piano 1904 (Eb-g)
  • Miriam Hyde - "Marsh Birds" for Flute and Piano (D-b)

See also

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