C Major key's Sub Dominant relative key is F. But instead, could Fm key also be a Relative key ?

So if that works..

From c minor key, could F Major be a relative key also ?

  • 1
    As far as I know, the only relatives are a major and its relative minor. So called due to both sharing the same key sig. True, F is the subdominant of C, but it would appear this question is asked on false premises. Parallel keys are something that may be what's meant here. But there's always going to be that 'lost in the translation', as in some languages, parallel means relative. If that's the case, I suggest we stick with the English meaning, meaning we're all on the same hymn sheet. – Tim Jan 27 at 12:32
  • learnmusictheory.net/PDFs/pdffiles/… Check this out. – Maika Sakuranomiya Mar 8 at 5:24

In common terminology, keys may be 'related' in various ways and to various degrees. C major has a close 'relationship' with C minor. It's pretty close to F major, G major. It's hardly 'related' at all to F# major (though I could confuse you with the 'b5 substitution' :-)

But in music terminology, 'Relative' has a specific meaning. It refers to the pair of major/minor keys that have the same key signature. C major and A minor, D major and B minor etc. Keep the word 'relative' for that.

(As @Tim commented, there may be translation issues here. But, in any language, I think there will be the concept of relative major/minor as a special type of relationship, with a special name.)

  • +1 for translation errors – user45266 Jan 27 at 21:45
  • @user45266 - which is what's in my comment, hours ago! – Tim Jan 28 at 9:24
  • Okay, @Tim, I upvoted your comment. Good suggestion! – user45266 Jan 28 at 16:48

There may be an issue with translation here. Other answers address the relative keys of, e.g., C major and A minor, but I wonder if you're asking about closely related keys.

Traditionally, closely related keys are defined as keys whose key signatures differ by only one accidental. The keys closely related to C major are thus D minor (one flat difference), E minor (one sharp difference), F major (one flat difference), G major (one sharp difference), and A minor (no difference).

By this metric, F major and C major are closely related keys.

F minor, having four flats in the key signature, is thus not closely related to C major. However, there is a clear relationship between the two that allows one to smoothly move between them: C major is the dominant of F minor. So even if the two keys aren't "closely related," it's still pretty easy to switch between them smoothly.


in German I would say: jein! What means Yes and No.

But actually the answer is: no!

Relative keys have the same signature


but you are speaking about

Parallel minor and parallel major keys that have the same tonic


So fm as the minor subdominant in C is borrowed from the minor parallel of cm

and F as the major subdominant in cm is borrowed from the major parallel of C


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