F major is the major tonality based on the tonal centre of F natural. Music written in this key traditionally has a key signature containing one flat, Bb. Its relative minor key is D minor.
<music> \cadenzaOn \meterOff \key f \major f g a bes c d e \bar "|"<f, a c>1 <a c f> <c f a> </music>
Music has been commonly written in the key of F since the start of the common practice period, due to its ease of reading. From the baroque period onwards, F major was held to have an 'affect' which suggested nature and pastoral themes. it is for this reason that many composers wrote music in this key which was meant to imitate the sound of a shepherd's pipe or bagpipes, such as the 'pastoral sinfonias' in Handel's Messiah and Bach's Christmas Oratorio. Ludwig van Beethoven also composed his 'Pastoral' Symphony (No.6) in this key.
The modern French horn and cor anglais are both instruments which transpose into the key of F.
Notable works in F major
- J.S. Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No.1
- Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No.6 'Pastoral'
- Johannes Brahms - Symphony No.3
- Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No.5
- George Gershwin - Piano Concerto