E minor (or Em) is the natural minor tonality, scale or chord based on the tonal center of E. The scale and tonality are made up of the pitches E, F#, G, A, B, C and D, while the chord comprises of E, G, and B. Its key signature consists of one sharp.
E minor's role in instrumentation
E minor is incredibly well-suited for a standardly tuned guitar with its tonic chord utilizing four open strings across all six strings and arguably the easiest triad to play across all six strings on the entire instrument. Much of the classical acoustic guitar repertoire is in E minor, as this is a very characteristic key for the instrument. The key is also extremely popular in metal music due to E being the lowest possible note on a standardly tuned guitar and metal having a preference toward minor keys and minor flavored modes.
Extra-musical associations with E minor
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Famous pieces in E minor
- Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 4
- Frédéric Chopin - Nocturne in E minor
- Antonín Dvořák - Symphony No. 9 "From the New World"
- Edward Elgar - Cello Concerto
- Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 7
- Felix Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto in E minor
- Nicolò Paganini - Caprice No. 3
- Sergei Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2
- Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 10
- Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto for Bassoon, Strings, and continuo, RV 484