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D Minor Piano Chord & Inversions: dm, dm/f, dm/a

d minor chord piano

A classic minor chord to learn is D minor! The D minor piano chord is is a truly melancholy chord. D minor is on the mellower side, being a flat key rather than a sharp key. The good news is that it is also very easy to learn if you’re a beginner!

Before learning the D minor chord, make sure you learn the D major chord. It is always good to learn the major version of the chord first, so you have a clear picture of how the chord changes when it becomes minor!

In addition, it wouldn’t hurt to know a few other chords before trying Dm: I recommend learning G minor, Bb major, and C major first.

What is the D minor chord on piano?

The D minor chord is a minor triad without any flats or sharps. It is formed just like any other minor chord—by taking the major chord and lowering the third a half step. If that sounds tricky now, don’t worry! The diagrams and tips I have for you should help.

How do you play D minor on the keyboard?

You will play a D minor chord simply by pressing down the 3 notes in the triad simultaneously. See below for a diagram on which notes are included.

Notes in a D Minor Chord

In it’s simplest form (root position) the D minor chord includes 3 notes: D, F, and A. D is the root of the chord, F the minor third, and A the perfect fifth. Below you can see D minor on the keyboard!

Dm Chord Piano Finger Position

Next, you need to make sure that you are putting the right fingers on these notes! Fingering is highly important when learning anything new on the piano. Definitely don’t skip this step!

The nice thing is that the fingerings for minor chords are always the same. And even better, the fingering is the same as major chords! Even though the number of flats and sharps vary, the fingering remains the same.

Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1

Don’t forget that finger 1 is your thumb, finger 3 your middle finger, and finger 5 your pinky.

Dm Piano Chord Inversions

After you learn the basic D minor triad, the next step is inversions! Inversions are basically just the same notes in the triad but mixed up in a different order— but you should know that if you’ve already learned your major chords!

Dm/F – First Inversion Chord

D minor first inversion is known as Dm/F. This is because the F is now on the bottom, followed by A, and then D on the top.

Right Hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5
Left hand fingering: 5 – 3 – 1

Dm/A – Second Inversion Chord

D minor second inversion is known as Dm/A, for the same reason as the previous chord. This time, the A is on the bottom, followed by D, and F on top.

Right hand fingering: 1 – 3 – 5
Left hand fingering: 1 – 2 – 5

Now that you’ve learned the basics of inversions, you want to practice them a lot! Start by doing your hands separately. Do the basic D minor chord, then go up the inversions until you reach another basic D minor chord. Then, come back down. You can do this in both hands separately, and then put them together when you’re comfortable enough!

D Minor Inversions on the Staff

It is a good idea not only to play the D minor inversions, but to see what they look like written out on the staff. The more you study this, the easier it will be to recognize D minor chords and inversions in an actual piece of music!

d minor inversions on the staff

What chords are in the key of D Minor?

While D minor is a specific chord, it also is a key with other chords in it too! In fact, a chord can be built off of every single note in the D minor scale. All of these chords work well together with D minor when used in chord progressions (see farther down for more info).

Here are all the chords in the key of D minor (from the natural minor scale):

Another chord you will commonly see in D minor is A major. This is because another version of the D minor scale, harmonic minor, has the C# included! Transitioning from a major V chord to a minor i chord is very common, espeically in classical music. Try playing the A chord and then the Dm chord, and you’ll see it sounds very good and resolute!

D Minor Chord Progressions

The best way to use those chords listed above is to put them into a chord progression! This is simply an order of playing a few chords that is often repeated multiple times. Here are a few of my favorite D minor chord progressions. Note that these stay within the natural minor scale.

  • Dm – Bb – F – C (i – VI – III – VII)
  • Gm – F – Dm – C (iv, III, i, VII)
  • Dm – F – Gm – Bb (i, III, iv, VI)

More Questions About D Minor

Is D minor the saddest key?

Yes, a lot of people do believe that D minor is the saddest key. Each minor key has a slightly different “feel” or “mood” and D minor is definitely among the most melancholy of them all. It was very often used for lamentations, dirges, etc. For years, composers and songwriters have turned to D minor to produce ultra sorrowful music.

What does D minor resolve to?

When you’re playing chord progressions in D minor and you want to resolve, the most common resolution is to go back to the i—D minor itself. The most common minor resolution is actually a V7 to the i. So in this case, A7 to D minor makes for a great resolution

Is D minor the same as F major?

No, D minor is not exactly the same as F major. While they have the same key signature (1 flat), they are still not the same key. Instead, they are known as relative major and minor chords/scales.

Is D minor the same thing as D major?

No, D minor is also not the same as D major. D major is spelled D, F#, A, so it has a raised third while D minor has a lowered third.

What mode is D minor?

Good question. D minor is often used in the mode of Dorian, which is technically a mode in the C major scale. In this form, D dorian has all white keys, so the Bb normally in the Dm scale becomes a B natural.

Conclusion

D minor is a sad, sorrowful key, and the d minor chord is just one part of that bigger picture. Thankfully, it is not hard to learn at all! Start with the basic chord, pay attention to fingerings, and of course try inversions and chord progressions too. With a little practice, you’ll soon have a good grip on the D minor chord. You got this!