A-flat minor is a minor scale based on A-flat, consisting of the pitches A♭, B♭, C♭, D♭, E♭, F♭, and G♭. For the harmonic minor, the G♭ is raised to G♮. Its key signature has seven flats (see below: Scales and keys).
Its relative major is C♭ major (or, enharmonically, B major), and its parallel major is A♭ major. Its direct enharmonic equivalent is G♯ minor.
Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with accidentals as necessary.
Although A-flat minor occurs in modulation in works in other keys, it is only rarely used as the principal key of a piece of music. Some well-known uses of the key in classical and romantic piano music include:The Funeral March in Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 12, Op. 26.
An early section of the last movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 31, Op. 110 (although the key signature of this section uses only 6 flats, not 7).
The Adagio of Friedrich Kalkbrenner's Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 127, although it is written with a four-flat key signature and uses accidentals to indicate the minor mode.
The first piece "Aime-moi" ("Love me") from Charles-Valentin Alkan's Trois morceaux dans le genre pathétique
Johannes Brahms's Fugue for organ (c. 1857).
Max Bruch's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Op. 88a (although at least one two-piano transcription of this uses a 6-flat signature, similarly to the Op. 110 Beethoven example).
The Evocación from Book I of Isaac Albéniz's Iberia.
Leoš Janáček uses it for his Violin Sonata and the organ solo of his Glagolitic Mass.
The opening of Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird.
Moritz Moszkowski used it for his piano etude, Op. 72 No. 13.
Franz Liszt's original version of "La campanella" from Grandes études de Paganini, which was subsequently rewritten in G-sharp minor.
In Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony, there is a particularly aggressive restatement of the introduction of the third movement in A-flat minor.
It is also used in Frederick Loewe's score to the 1956 musical play My Fair Lady; the Second Servants' Chorus is set in A-flat minor (the preceding and following choruses being a semitone lower and higher respectively).
More often, pieces in a minor mode that have A-flat's pitch as tonic are notated in the enharmonic key, G-sharp minor, because of G-sharp's appreciably simpler key signature and it has just five sharps as opposed to the seven flats of A-flat minor. As a result, only works expressly notated as such may reasonably be considered to be in A-flat minor.
In some scores, the A♭ minor key signature in the bass clef is written with the flat for the F on the second line from the top.