An Introduction to the G Sharp Minor
Minor keys are the shadows to major keys shinier, happier primary colors. They’re an essential component of expressing the full range of human emotions, and not just sadness either .
Think of minor keys, chords, and scales as the drop shadows that give dimension and depth to a composition. Like with literature, conflict is necessary to tell an interesting story. Otherwise, nothing happens .
Let’s take a look at the key of G Sharp minor. We’ll show you the scales and chords, and offer some ideas on how to incorporate this groaning, wailing key signature into your performances and songwriting.
Introduction To G Sharp Minor
G Sharp minor is the relative minor of B Major. It’s actually just one of several possible minor keys/scales. We’ll be focusing mostly on G Sharp natural minor, but we’ll take a look at some of the other minor modes to give as broad of an understanding of this ominous key signature as possible.
G Sharp minor could more accurately be described as ‘G Sharp Aeolian.’ The Aeolian Mode takes a major key signature and flats the third, sixth, and seventh. It’s commonly heard in jazz and blues, for example.
Let’s start off with G Sharp MAJOR, to show you what we’re talking about.
G Sharp Major is:
G# – A# – B# ( C ) – C# – D# – E# (F) – F## (G) – G#
G Sharp major is one of the most complicated and confusing key signatures of the 12 primary Western key signatures. It features a mind-boggling eight sharps, including a double sharp for F.
To eliminate some of the confusion, look at G Sharp major’s enharmonic equivalent, Ab.
Ab Major Is:
Ab – Bb – C – Db – Eb – F – G – Ab
We will continue to talk about G# but wanted to offer the much more common enharmonic scale of Ab to give a better understanding of this rather rare scale.
Considering that minor scales, or the Aeolian Mode, is a major scale with flatted 3rds, 6ths, and 7ths, that means G Sharp minor is:
G# – A# – B – C# – D# – E – F# – G#
This scale is actually G Sharp natural minor. We’ll be talking about this configuration, for the most part. But there are a few other variations which aren’t uncommon to come across.
G Sharp harmonic minor scale (flatted 3, major 7)
G# – A# – B – C# – D# – E# (F) – F## (G) – G#
Now that you have a better notion of how the minor scales are constructed, let’s take a look at the G Sharp minor chords.
G Sharp Minor Chords
All chords in Western music are built around triads. That’s a root, third, and fifth, with the root generally being the lowest note in the chord.
There is a predictive order to the chord voicings, as well, due to this fact. In the natural minor scale, they are minor – diminished – major – minor – minor – major – major.
The basic G Sharp minor chords are:
I – G Sharp minor
II – A Sharp diminished
III – B major
IV – C Sharp minor
V – D Sharp minor
VI – E Sharp major
VII – F Sharp major
Sometimes, certain chords will feature the fourth note, to make for a more complicated ‘jazzier’ chord.
The special chords of G Sharp major are:
I – G Sharp minor 7
II – A Sharp diminished flat 5
III – B major 7
IV – C Sharp minor 7
V – D Sharp minor 7
VI – E major 7
VII – F# dominant 7
Despite the fact that G Sharp minor is one of the rarest keys in any music genre, there are still some common chord progressions for you to try out.
Common G Sharp minor chord progressions include:
- I – VI – VII (G Sharp minor – E – F Sharp)
- I – IV – VI (G Sharp minor – C Sharp minor – F Sharp)
- I – IV – V (G Sharp minor – C Sharp minor – D Sharp minor)
- I – IV – III – VII (G Sharp minor – C Sharp minor – B – F Sharp)
- II – V – I (A Sharp minor flat 5 – D Sharp minor – G Sharp minor)
Songs In The Key Of G Sharp Minor
There is nothing more empowering or inspiring towards musicianship than learning how to play a song you love. It takes things out of the realm of the hypothetical and makes them all-too-real.
That being said, G Sharp minor is one of the rarest keys in all of music, West or East. It’s actually considered a theoretical key signature, due to the double sharp on F, which actually translates to G. Most composers and songwriters choose to use the more streamline enharmonic equivalent, A Flat.
G Sharp minor is most used for transitions or to modulate keys. It’s not unheard of in classical or keyboard music, however. Numerous influential classical pieces call upon G Sharp minor’s pensive, haunting shrieks and warbles.
Some songs in the key of G Sharp minor include:
- Shostakovich – 8th String Quartet
- Chopin – Etude No. 6
- Scriabin – Sonata No. 2
- Guns ‘n Roses – Don’t Cry
- Rachmaninoff – Prelude in G Sharp minor
As you can see, there’s a decent amount of classical music written in G Sharp minor. It’s kind of rare to find pop, rock, or blues written in this ominous, plaintive, complicated key signature, however.
If you’re looking to make your compositions stand out with striking, unconventional chords and voicings that don’t sound like everybody else, you’d do well to start with G Sharp minor.
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We’re happy to hear it! Music is a language, like any other, with its own vocabulary and grammar. Once you learn the basics, mastering key signatures like G sharp minor, you’ll quickly be able to express your innermost thoughts!
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