|Relative key||C-sharp minor|
|Parallel key||E minor|
|Dominant key||B major|
enharmonic: C-flat major
|E, F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯, D♯|
E major (or the key of E) is a major scale based on E, with the pitches E, F♯, G♯, A, B, C♯, and D♯. Its key signature has four sharps. Its relative minor is C-sharp minor and its parallel minor is E minor. Its enharmonic equivalent, F-flat major, has eight flats, including the double flat B, which makes it rarely used.
The E major scale is:
Music in E major
Johann Sebastian Bach used E major for a violin concerto, as well as for his third partita for solo violin; the key is especially appropriate for the latter piece because its tonic (E) and subdominant (A) correspond to open strings on the violin, enhancing the tone colour (and ease of playing) of the bariolage in the first movement.
Starting with Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, several works in the key of C minor began to have slow movements in E major, three examples of which are Johannes Brahms' First Symphony and Piano Quartet No. 3, and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
Frédéric Chopin's First Piano Concerto starts in E minor, but the last two movements are in E major. His Étude Op. 10, No. 3, one of his known works, is in E major. His last Nocturne, Op. 62 No. 2, is also in E major.
Even in the 19th century, symphonies in this key were rare, with Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 being one of very few examples (see list of symphonies in E major). For Bruckner, "the key of E major is frequently associated with music of contemplation."
More typically, however, some symphonies that begin in E minor switch to E major for the finale, such as Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10.
- Philip Barford, Bruckner Symphonies Seattle: University of Washington Press (1978): 52
- Media related to E major at Wikimedia Commons