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The D minor chord scale is a series of piano chords that are in the key of D minor. They can be used to create chord progressions and melodies in D minor. It’s a fantastic scale for portraying a serious mood in your compositions or music productions.
This post will cover the D minor chord scale, everything you need to know and why it’s different from the other scales on the piano.
Highly recommended: check out our Piano Chord Poster – there’s over 120 chords on 1 sheet & it’s great for practise!
What Are The Chords in The D Minor Scale?
To find out what chords are in the D minor scale, you’ll need to understand what the D minor scale is made up of. The D minor scale is made up of 7 notes, that form the key of D minor.
The notes in the D minor scale are:
D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C, D
Above are the notes in the D minor scale. When you have these notes, you can use something called a chord scale formula, that will help you decide which chord is assigned to which note. Each of these notes will have a chord assigned, so let’s find them out.
- Major: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminsihed
- Minor: minor, diminished, major, minor, minor, major, major
Because you are using the D minor scale, and want to find the chords in the key of D minor, you will use the minor chord scale formula. This is: minor, diminished, major, minor, minor, major, major.
You can then use this chord scale formula and plug them into the notes of the D minor scale.
Therefore the D minor chord scale consists of:
- D minor
- E diminished
- F major
- G minor
- A minor
- Bb major
- C major
If you already know what the triad shapes are and how to play them, then you’ll now be able to play the D minor chord scale. However, if you don’t know how to play chords just yet, you will need to use something called chord spellings.
These are similar to the chord scale formula, except they map out the notes of chords built from the major scale.
The most common chord spellings are:
- Major – 1, 3, 5
- Minor – 1, b3, 5
- Diminished – 1, b3, b5
- Augmented – 1, 3, #5
Seeing as you’re in D minor, and the chord spellings are derived from major scales, you will need to use the major scale of each of the notes to create the chord you want.
So, let’s build the first 2 chords in D minor as an example.
The first chord in D minor, is D minor. So you’ll take the D major scale, then use the minor spelling: 1, b3, 5. Then count the 1st note of the D major scale (D), the 3rd note, moving it one semi-tone down (F), and the 5th note (A).
This gives you your D minor triad: D, F, A.
For the 2nd chord, you want to find an E diminished. This is because E is the 2nd note in the D minor scale, and diminished is the 2nd chord in the minor chord scale formula.
So, you take the spelling above: 1, b3, b5, and you plug it into the E major scale seeing as that’s the root note of the chord you want to find.
Now for all the other chords, you repeat the process, using the major scale of the next note in the sequence of D minor. Once you work through them all, you’ll have the notes needed to play every chord in the key of D minor.
Chords in The Key of D Minor
You can use any of the chords in D minor, in any sequence, to create chord progressions that sound in tune with the key of D minor. Some combinations will sound better than others, and here using trial an error is going to get your closer and closer to a final result you like. Switch up the chords, try out different ones, and see how they sound.
Using the above chord scale, you can make basic triad chord progressions. When you want to sound more advanced, you’ll want to look into adding things like extensions, bass notes, and inverting your chords.
The quickest way to write progressions is using the MIDI piano roll to draw in chords.
What Are The Notes in The Chords of D Minor?
Now you know what chords are in D minor, you’ll need to know what notes to play. If you’ve spelled the chords using the formulas above, you’ll have them. If not, we’ve left a list of them below.
- D minor – D, F, A
- E diminished – E, G, Bb
- F major – F, A, C
- G minor – G, Bb, D
- A minor – A, C, E
- Bb major – Bb, D, F
- C major – C, E, G
Common Chord Progressions in D Minor
You can also use chord progressions to build melodies more quickly. Chord progressions are kind of like formulas for good sounding melodies. You can use these as a springboard for more ideas, or to kickstart a session if you are out of creative juice.
Uppercase = major
Lowercase = minor
6, 7, 9, 11 after letters = extensions
Here are some common chord progressions in the key of D minor:
- i- iv-i-VI-V7-i