The D Major chord scale is a happy sounding piano scale, that can be used to create chord progressions, and melodies that sound in key, easily. In this article we're going to cover everything you need to know about piano chords in the D Major scale.
Highly recommended: check out our Piano Chord Poster – there are over 120 chords on 1 sheet & it’s great for practice!
What Are The Chords in The D Major Scale?
To find out what chords are in the D major scale, first we need to understand what the D major scale is, and what notes are in it. Once we have the notes, we can find the chords using a formula, which we'll explain further down.
The D major scale consists of:
D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D
Every note in the D major scale has its own chord, and to find those chords, we can use the chord scale formula that I spoke about above.
There are 2 common chord scale formulas we can use:
- Major: Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major, Minor, Diminished
- Minor: Minor, Diminished, Major, Minor, Minor, Major, Major
When you have the formula above, you can plug it into the D major scale (listed in green). To get the chords in the D major scale, you want to use the major formula. If you know your chords, you'll be able to play the D major scale now. If not, you can use chord spellings to work them out.
The most common chord spellings are:
- Major – 1, 3, 5
- Minor – 1, b3, 5
- Diminished – 1, b3, b5
- Augmented – 1, 3, #5
The chord spellings are used to create chords from the major scale. If you wanted to create a minor chord, using the minor scale to count your notes, you could drop the “b3” on the minor spelling and diminished spelling, and add a #3 to the major spelling.
Seeing as we're using the D major scale, we'll use the spellings above, as they are, to get the chords of the D major scale.
To do this, you would count up notes in the D major scale.
If we take a 1, 3, 5 major spelling, and we wanted to build a D major chord, we'd count the:
- D – 1
- F# – 3
- A – 5
If we wanted to build the next chord (Eminor), we'd take the minor spelling, and the D major scale above, and do the same process.
The minor spelling is: 1, b3, 5
So therefore, to get E minor chord, we'd take the E major scale. This is because E is the root note of the chord that we want, so we have to use the E major scale to find the notes in that chord.
- E – 1
- G – b3
- B – 5
3 step guide to making chords
Decide What Chord You Want
Decide whether you want a major, minor or diminished chord, & decide the note you're going to use.
Find The Scale You Need To Use
If you want a A major chord, use the A major scale. If you want a B minor chord, use the B major scale.
Use The Correct Spelling
Choose the major spelling for major chords, the minor for minor chords & so on…
Using the above spellings, and major chord scale formula, you should get:
- D major
- E minor
- F# minor
- G major
- A major
- B minor
- C# diminished
These are the basic triad shapes on the piano, and you can use these chords in any order to create chord progressions that sound in key.
You can also expand on these chords to make them sound better by adding extensions, inverting chords, adding bass notes & more.
Adding extensions is pretty simply, all you do is count up the notes in key of your chord. Dmaj9 = count up 9 notes in the D major scale, & add it on. Dmaj7 = count up 7 notes in the D major scale, & add it on.
! Remember !
For chord extensions, you will need to use the correct key to find the correct extension for your chord. To give an example, for a Cmaj7, you use C major – for an Amin7, you use A minor & so on.
Chords In The Scale of D Major
Here are all the chords in the key of D major. Playing these chords in any order will give you a result that sounds in key and will sound relatively good. Some combinations will sound better than others, but it's all about trial and error.
Using the piano or MIDI roll you can quickly put together progressions, and try out different examples with inversions & extensions. Using extensions, inversions and different bass notes is where your progressions will become really interesting.
What Notes Are in The D Major Scale Chords?
Here we'll list all the notes found in each chord, in the D major chord scale:
- D major – D, F#, A
- E minor – E, G, B
- F# minor – F#, A, C#
- G major – G, B, D
- A major – A, C#, E
- B minor – B, D, F#
- C diminished – C#, E, G
Common Chord Progressions To Use in D Major
You can also use pre-made chord progressions that already sound good to kick-start the flow of ideas. Below are some common chord progressions that will work. To use these, you just need to plug in the Roman numerals numbers listed on the diagrams above.
Anything with a 6, 7, 9 after it, is an extension chord, lowercase = minor, and uppercase = major.
With over 8 years of hands-on experience in the music industry, Harry has run successful raves, played alongside industry heavyweights such as Max Chapman, DJ EZ, DJ Zinc and more (pictured below), had music played on national radio, DJ'd on live radio, produced until he hated every song, mixed until his ears bled, created sample packs from scratch using just a Zoom H1n and some sound design skills… and pretty much anything related to music production – he's done it, tested it, tried it.