## Section3.2Minor Key Signatures

Minor key signatures agree with the notes of the natural minor scale. Since the $$\text{C}$$ natural minor scale had $$\text{E}^♭$$, $$\text{A}^♭$$, and $$\text{B}^♭$$, the key signature of C minor has three flats, written in the order of flats—$$\text{B}^♭$$, $$\text{E}^♭$$, $$\text{A}^♭$$. Therefore, a minor key signature will have three lowered notes—the 3rd, 6th, and 7th—in relation to the corresponding major key signature. We use the term parallel minor when referring to a minor scale that has the same 1st scale degree (in this case $$\text{C}$$) as the major. We say, “The parallel minor of $$\text{E}$$ major is $$\text{E}$$ minor,” and “The parallel major of $$\text{F}$$ minor is $$\text{F}$$ major.” One method of figuring out a minor key signature is to add three flats to the parallel major key signature. This is the same as subtracting three sharps. Note on uppercase versus lowercase: When writing below the five-line staff to designate keys, we will use the shorthand of upper case for major ($$\left.\text{C}\right.$$) and lowercase for minor ($$\left.\text{c}\right.$$). When writing prose, we will use uppercase: C major and C minor.

We use the term relative minor when referring to a minor key that has the same key signature as a major key. For example, the relative minor of $$\text{E}^♭$$ major is $$\text{C}$$ minor because both have three flats in the key signature. Conversely, one could say the relative major of $$\text{C}$$ minor is $$\text{E}^♭$$ major. The relative major is three half steps above the relative minor. Below are the minor key signatures. Here are circle of fifths diagrams for both major and minor, for comparison. 