parallel key

Parallel key signatures.
Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition of Parallel Key:

Parallel keys are major and minor keys that share the same keynote. G major and G minor are parallel keys, as are F# major and F# minor, etc. (Not to be confused with relative keys.)

Parallel scales have the same order of note letters, and are nearly identical in pitch except for three notes:

  • D Major:   D   -   E   -   F#  -  G   -   A   -   B   -   C#
  • D minor:   D   -   E   -   F    -  G   -   A   -  Bb  -   C

So, the D minor scale could be interpreted as D Major with a flattened third, sixth, and seventh.


Comparing Parallel Scales

If you listen to parallel scales back-to-back, you can easily hear the difference between the major and minor moods:

The same can be observed in parallel chords (or “parallel tonic” chords):

  • Ab Maj chord (♫ listen):   A -  C   -  E
  • Ab min chord (♫ listen):   A - C -  E

Also Known As:

  • parallel tonic; parallel major/minor; tonic major/minor
  • tonalità parallele (It)
  • tonalité parallèle (Fr)
  • Varianttonart (Ger)
    (Not to be confused with Paralleltonart; German for relative key.)

Pronunciation: PAH-ruh-lell'

Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪  The Point Of Double-Sharps
 ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
 ▪  Essential Piano Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords

Getting Started on Keyboards
 ▪  Finding the Right Piano Teacher
 ▪  Sitting Correctly at the Keys
 ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪  How to Buy a Used Piano
 ▪  Musical Keyboard Comparison Guide

Piano Chords
 ▪  Chord Types & Symbols in Sheet Music
 ▪  Root Notes & Chord Inversion
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords

Piano Care
 ▪  Everyday Piano Care
 ▪  Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
 ▪  When to Tune a Piano
 ▪  Easy-to-Spot Signs of Piano Damage
 ▪  Piano Room Temps & Humidity Levels

Piano Recitals & Performing
 ▪  What to Eat & Drink Before a Performance
 ▪  Concert Etiquette for the Audience
 ▪  Warming Up for a Piano Performance
 ▪  Minimizing Stage Fright
 ▪  Overcoming Mistakes On Stage

♫ Musical Quizzes!
 ● Identify the Piano Keys
 ● Key Signature Quiz
 ● Note Length & Rest Quiz (U.S. or U.K. English)
 ● Grand Staff Notes Quiz
 ● Tempo Command & BPM Quiz
 ● Time Signature & Rhythm Quiz
 ● Volume Commands & Dynamics Symbols

Helpful Info For Owning a Piano
How to Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
Learn ivory-safe methods for brightening up your acoustic piano keys, and find out what you can do to prevent keyboard yellowing.

When to Tune a Piano
Find out when (and how frequently) you should schedule a professional piano tuning to keep your piano healthy and on-pitch.

Easy-to-Spot Signs of Piano Damage
Before you buy or sell an acoustic piano, learn how to assess it for both internal and external damage.

Ideal Piano Temp & Humidity Levels
Learn how to maintain sound quality and piano health by monitoring the temperature, humidity, and natural light in your piano room.

Illustrated Piano Chords:
AbmajAbma7Abma9  |  AbminAbm7Abm9  |  AbdimAb°7  |  AbaugAb+7  |  Absus2Absus4