Ready to learn how to play the D major piano scale? I’m going to teach you how in this article today! The D scale is relatively easy to learn, and I’ve got you covered with keyboard diagrams, fingerings, and more. So let’s jump right in!
What is the D scale on piano?
The D scale is an easy piano scale that consists of the following notes: D, E, F#, G, A, B, and C#. As you can see, it is a scale with 2 sharps (black notes) in it.
What sharps are in D major?
As I mentioned above, the sharps in D major are F# and C#. This is in accordance with the order of sharps, which you can learn more about here. For now, all you need to do is memorize the names of those 2 sharps, because it will help you when we go to learn the scale.
BEFORE You Begin
Stop! Before you learn the D scale, it is important that you already know 2 other scales. These 2 scales are easier to learn, so think of them as the “prerequisite.”
If this is the first scale you are learning, you will be better off if you stop reading this post and instead learn the C scale and the G scale.
If you already know those two, then keep reading!
D Scale Piano Notes & Fingerings
With all of this in mind, we can start learning the D scale. Let’s take a look at the notes that are included in this scale. Below the diagram shows which notes to play, with the right hand and left hand fingerings underneath.
How to Play the D Scale on the Piano
To play the D scale, press down each note shown in the diagram above, starting with the D on the far left and working your way to the D on the far right. Each note should be played as its own distict note, yet still connected (just don’t blur them together).
As you play, follow the finger numbers on the diagram. For the right hand, you’ll start with your thumb on D, then play your 2 on E, and 3 on F#—our first black note. Next, you’ll see a little X. The x’s stand for finger crosses.
Anytime you see a finger cross X, there are two options of what it could mean. If the X has a 3 before it and a 1 after it, this means you will be tucking your thumb underneath your 3rd finger and then repositioning your hand from there.
On the other hand, if the X has a 1 before it and a 3 after it, this means you will be crossing your 3rd finger over your thumb and repositioning your hand from there.
Here’s the good news: the fingering for the D scale is exactly the same as the C & G scale!
In fact, 5 of the white key scales have the same fingering. So the main thing to pay attention to is the added black keys. In this scale, the black key is an F# played toward the beginning, and a C# played on the seventh note.
D Major Scale On The Staff
If you prefer reading music, here is what the D scale looks like in both treble and bass clef. You’ll want to practice each hand separately until you have each one down super well. Then, you can try playing them at the same time!
Some Scale Tips
If you are trying out the notes above and having some trouble, here are a few tips that might help:
Practice slowly, don’t rush. This may sound obvious, but the slower you go the more successful you’ll be on your first try. Rushing often causes tightness in the hands and missed notes. We don’t want either of these things! So start slow and work up the pace gradually.
Keep your arm and wrist loose, not tight. I know I’ve said this before, but I have to reiterate because it is so important! A small bouncing motion will greatly help not only the sound but also your technique when playing scales.
Focus on the sharps. You should already know the fingering for this scale if you learned C and G first. So focus on getting the sharps right as you play the D scale. Remember, they come on the 3rd and 7th notes!
All major scales follow a formula as far as intervals go. Here is this formula: W-W-H-W-W-W-H. The W’s stand for “whole step” and the H’s stand for “half step.
So written out the long way, the formula is: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step.
You can use this formula any time to figure out a major scale!
When you use this formula, it also creates a relationship between the tonic (the very first note) and all the other notes. An interval can be formed between the tonic and each note of the scale. Here’s what that looks like for D major:
- Tonic: D
- Major 2nd: E
- Major 3rd: F#
- Perfect 4th: G
- Perfect 5th: A
- Major 6th: B
- Major 7th: C#
- Perfect 8th: D
Another way to look at a scale is by “degrees.” Here are the scale degrees for the key of D:
- Tonic: D
- Supertonic: E
- Mediant: F#
- Subdominant: G
- Dominant: A
- Submediant: B
- Leading tone: C#
- Octave: D
Triad Chords In The Key Of D
Did you know a chord can also be built off of EVERY note in the D scale? That’s right! It is a great exercise to practice finding these chords in each key. For D it is pretty easy since there are no sharps and flats:
- Chord I: D major (notes are D – F# – A)
- Chord ii: E minor (notes are E – G – B)
- Chord iii: F# minor (notes are F# – A – C#)
- Chord IV: G major (notes are G – B – D)
- Chord V: A major (notes are A – C# – E)
- Chord vi: B minor (notes are B – D – F#)
- Chord vii: C# diminished (notes are C# – E – G)
Is D major same as B minor?
D major is not the same key as B minor, but it does have the same amount of sharps! B minor is known as the relative minor to D major. Major and minor keys all have relatives! This simply refers to which major and minor keys have the same amount of sharps or flats.
How To Get Better At Playing The D Scale
The more you practice, the better you will get at playing the D scale. Practice makes perfect! Remember to go slow and take your time, gradually building up the pace.
Once you get the D scale down with your hands separate, move onto trying it hands together.
The best way to get better at all your scales is consistency. I recommend going through all of them as a warm up before you start practicing any other songs you’re learning.
Scales To Learn Next:
Once you’re done learning the D scale, you can move on to more difficult scales with even MORE flats and sharps! Here’s a master list you can work through one by one. These are not in chronological order (or even the order I recommend learning them in) but rather in order of sharps and then flats.
- A Major Scale
- E Major Scale
- B Major Scale
- F# Major Scale
- C# Major Scale
- F Major Scale
- Bb Major Scale
- Eb Major Scale
- Ab Major Scale
- Db Major Scale
- Gb Major Scale
More Music Theory:
- How Many Beats Are in a Whole Note
- What is Rubato in Music?
- Ab Major Chord
- Bb Major Chord
- C# Major Chord
The D Major Scale is relatively easy to learn, so long as you already know a few major scales to begin with. Make sure you pay close attention to not only the notes, but also the fingerings! Mastering the D scale is just the next step in your piano journey. You’ve got this!