D major chords

The Solution below shows the D major scale triad chords (I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, viio) on a piano, with mp3 and midi audio.

The Lesson steps then explain the triad chord construction from this scale, and how to name the quality of each chord based on note intervals.

For a quick summary of this topic, and to see the chord quality chart for this scale, have a look at Scale chord.

Keys in this scale
KeyCC#Db[D]D#EbEE#FbFF#GbGG#AbAA#BbBB#Cb

Solution - 7 parts

1. D major chord I

This step shows the tonic triad chord of the D major scale.

Chord identification

The D major chord I is the D major chord, and contains the notes D, F#, and A.

This tonic chord's root / starting note is the 1st note (or scale degree) of the D major scale.

The roman numeral for number 1 is 'I' and is used to indicate this is the 1st triad chord in the scale. It is in upper case to denote that the chord is a major chord.

D major chord 1 is D major

Chord names for D major chord 1
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionD major chord in root positionIa
1st inversionD major chord in 1st inversionIbI6
2nd inversionD major chord in 2nd inversionIcI64
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2. D major chord ii

This step shows the supertonic triad chord of the D major scale.

Chord identification

The D major chord ii is the E minor chord, and contains the notes E, G, and B.

This supertonic chord's root / starting note is the 2nd note (or scale degree) of the D major scale.

The roman numeral for number 2 is 'ii' and is used to indicate this is the 2nd triad chord in the scale. It is in lower case to denote that the chord is a minor chord.

D major chord 2 is E minor

Chord names for D major chord 2
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionE minor chord in root positioniia
1st inversionE minor chord in 1st inversioniibii6
2nd inversionE minor chord in 2nd inversioniicii64
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3. D major chord iii

This step shows the mediant triad chord of the D major scale.

Chord identification

The D major chord iii is the F# minor chord, and contains the notes F#, A, and C#.

This mediant chord's root / starting note is the 3rd note (or scale degree) of the D major scale.

The roman numeral for number 3 is 'iii' and is used to indicate this is the 3rd triad chord in the scale. It is in lower case to denote that the chord is a minor chord.

D major chord 3 is F-sharp minor

Chord names for D major chord 3
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionF# minor chord in root positioniiia
1st inversionF# minor chord in 1st inversioniiibiii6
2nd inversionF# minor chord in 2nd inversioniiiciii64
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4. D major chord IV

This step shows the subdominant triad chord of the D major scale.

Chord identification

The D major chord IV is the G major chord, and contains the notes G, B, and D.

This subdominant chord's root / starting note is the 4th note (or scale degree) of the D major scale.

The roman numeral for number 4 is 'IV' and is used to indicate this is the 4th triad chord in the scale. It is in upper case to denote that the chord is a major chord.

D major chord 4 is G major

Chord names for D major chord 4
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionG major chord in root positionIVa
1st inversionG major chord in 1st inversionIVbIV6
2nd inversionG major chord in 2nd inversionIVcIV64
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5. D major chord V

This step shows the dominant triad chord of the D major scale.

Chord identification

The D major chord V is the A major chord, and contains the notes A, C#, and E.

This dominant chord's root / starting note is the 5th note (or scale degree) of the D major scale.

The roman numeral for number 5 is 'V' and is used to indicate this is the 5th triad chord in the scale. It is in upper case to denote that the chord is a major chord.

D major chord 5 is A major

Chord names for D major chord 5
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionA major chord in root positionVa
1st inversionA major chord in 1st inversionVbV6
2nd inversionA major chord in 2nd inversionVcV64
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6. D major chord vi

This step shows the submediant triad chord of the D major scale.

Chord identification

The D major chord vi is the B minor chord, and contains the notes B, D, and F#.

This submediant chord's root / starting note is the 6th note (or scale degree) of the D major scale.

The roman numeral for number 6 is 'vi' and is used to indicate this is the 6th triad chord in the scale. It is in lower case to denote that the chord is a minor chord.

D major chord 6 is B minor

Chord names for D major chord 6
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionB minor chord in root positionvia
1st inversionB minor chord in 1st inversionvibvi6
2nd inversionB minor chord in 2nd inversionvicvi64
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7. D major chord viio

This step shows the subtonic triad chord of the D major scale.

Chord identification

The D major chord viio is the C# diminished chord, and contains the notes C#, E, and G.

This subtonic chord's root / starting note is the 7th note (or scale degree) of the D major scale.

The roman numeral for number 7 is 'vii' and is used to indicate this is the 7th triad chord in the scale. Just like a minor chord, the diminished chord is constructed using a minor third interval, so the roman numeral is shown in lower case.

The diminished symbol 'o' is placed after the roman numerals to indicate this is a diminished chord.

D major chord 7 is C-sharp diminished

Chord names for D major chord 7
Chord positionLinka/b/c notationFigured bass notation
Root positionC# diminished chord in root positionviioa
1st inversionC# diminished chord in 1st inversionviiobviio6
2nd inversionC# diminished chord in 2nd inversionviiocviio64
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Lesson steps

1. Piano key note names

This step shows the white and black note names on a piano keyboard so that the note names are familiar for later steps, and to show that the note names start repeating themselves after 12 notes.

The white keys are named using the alphabetic letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, which is a pattern that repeats up the piano keyboard.

Every white or black key could have a flat(b) or sharp(#) accidental name, depending on how that note is used. In a later step, if sharp or flat notes are used, the exact accidental names will be chosen.

Sharp and flat note names

The audio files below play every note shown on the piano above, so middle C (marked with an orange line at the bottom) is the 2nd note heard.

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2. D major scale notes

This step shows the scale note names that will be used to construct all triad chords that harmonize with those scale notes.

The piano keyboard below contains the notes of the D major scale.

Starting from the 1st scale note, each lesson step below will take each note in turn and construct a triad chord using that note as the root / starting note of that chord.

The triad chord will be built using only the notes of the scale we are interested in.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

Triad chords are built using the 1st, 3rdand 5th notes of the scale, so the first triad below will constructed a chord using notes D, F# and A.

D major scale
No.12345678
NoteDEF#GABC#D

The second triad below will repeat this, but this time starting on the 2nd note, so its notes will be E, G and B - ie. the 1st, 3rd and 5th positions relative to that 2nd root note.

This pattern is repeated for all 7 notes in the scale, resulting in 7 triad chords.

D major scale

Identifying the chord quality

Although the above method identifies each triads notes from the scale used - it does not identify the complete chord name including its quality.

Should each triad that we build be called major, minor, augmented, or diminished ? Every triad chord must have one of these quality names.

To decide the name the chord quality, each step below will use note intervals to calculate how many half-tones / semitones / piano keys between the root and the 3rd (and 5th).

Taken together, the combination of the 3rd and 5th note intervals will define the complete triad quality name.

The steps below will show how this works for each triad in turn, but in practice it might just be easier to memorize the triad quality table in the Scale chord summary for each scale type.

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3. 1st triad chord in D major scale

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 1st scale degree of the D major scale.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the D major scale, ordered to show the 1st note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes D, F#, and A.

D major scale from note #1
No.1234567
NoteDEF#GABC#

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between D and F# is 4 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore major, also called M3 for short. More details of this interval are at D-maj-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between D and A is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at D-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having major(M3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is major.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, D, onto this quality, giving us the D major chord.

D major triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol I could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is D major chord in root position (ie not inverted) - D major scale chord Ia.

Instead, I could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is D major chord in 1st inversion - D major scale chord Ib.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is D major chord in 2nd inversion - D major scale chord Ic.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols I:

So in this key, I6 refers to the D major chord in 1st inversion, and I64 refers to the D major chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next scale note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, D, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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4. 2nd triad chord in D major scale

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 2nd scale degree of the D major scale.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the D major scale, ordered to show the 2nd note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes E, G, and B.

D major scale from note #2
No.1234567
NoteEF#GABC#D

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between E and G is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at E-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between E and B is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at E-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is minor.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, E, onto this quality, giving us the E minor chord.

E minor triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol ii could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is E minor chord in root position (ie not inverted) - D major scale chord iia.

Instead, ii could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is E minor chord in 1st inversion - D major scale chord iib.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is E minor chord in 2nd inversion - D major scale chord iic.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols ii:

So in this key, ii6 refers to the E minor chord in 1st inversion, and ii64 refers to the E minor chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next scale note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, E, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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5. 3rd triad chord in D major scale

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 3rd scale degree of the D major scale.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the D major scale, ordered to show the 3rd note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes F#, A, and C#.

D major scale from note #3
No.1234567
NoteF#GABC#DE

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between F# and A is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at F#-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between F# and C# is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at F#-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is minor.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, F#, onto this quality, giving us the F# minor chord.

F-sharp minor triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol iii could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is F# minor chord in root position (ie not inverted) - D major scale chord iiia.

Instead, iii could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is F# minor chord in 1st inversion - D major scale chord iiib.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is F# minor chord in 2nd inversion - D major scale chord iiic.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols iii:

So in this key, iii6 refers to the F# minor chord in 1st inversion, and iii64 refers to the F# minor chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next scale note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, F#, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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6. 4th triad chord in D major scale

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 4th scale degree of the D major scale.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the D major scale, ordered to show the 4th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes G, B, and D.

D major scale from note #4
No.1234567
NoteGABC#DEF#

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between G and B is 4 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore major, also called M3 for short. More details of this interval are at G-maj-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between G and D is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at G-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having major(M3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is major.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, G, onto this quality, giving us the G major chord.

G major triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol IV could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is G major chord in root position (ie not inverted) - D major scale chord IVa.

Instead, IV could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is G major chord in 1st inversion - D major scale chord IVb.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is G major chord in 2nd inversion - D major scale chord IVc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols IV:

So in this key, IV6 refers to the G major chord in 1st inversion, and IV64 refers to the G major chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next scale note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, G, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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7. 5th triad chord in D major scale

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 5th scale degree of the D major scale.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the D major scale, ordered to show the 5th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes A, C#, and E.

D major scale from note #5
No.1234567
NoteABC#DEF#G

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between A and C# is 4 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore major, also called M3 for short. More details of this interval are at A-maj-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between A and E is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at A-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having major(M3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is major.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, A, onto this quality, giving us the A major chord.

A major triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol V could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is A major chord in root position (ie not inverted) - D major scale chord Va.

Instead, V could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is A major chord in 1st inversion - D major scale chord Vb.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is A major chord in 2nd inversion - D major scale chord Vc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols V:

So in this key, V6 refers to the A major chord in 1st inversion, and V64 refers to the A major chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next scale note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, A, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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8. 6th triad chord in D major scale

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 6th scale degree of the D major scale.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the D major scale, ordered to show the 6th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes B, D, and F#.

D major scale from note #6
No.1234567
NoteBC#DEF#GA

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between B and D is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at B-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between B and F# is 7 half-tones, and the note interval name is perfect (P5). More details of this interval are at B-perf-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and perfect(P5) note intervals is minor.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, B, onto this quality, giving us the B minor chord.

B minor triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol vi could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is B minor chord in root position (ie not inverted) - D major scale chord via.

Instead, vi could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is B minor chord in 1st inversion - D major scale chord vib.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is B minor chord in 2nd inversion - D major scale chord vic.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols vi:

So in this key, vi6 refers to the B minor chord in 1st inversion, and vi64 refers to the B minor chord in 2nd inversion.

The next scale chord

The next step will need to calculate the triad chord whose root / starting note is next scale note.

To do this, the first column we used in this step, B, will be moved to the final column of the table.

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9. 7th triad chord in D major scale

This step shows how to identify the notes and the name of a triad chord whose root note is the 7th scale degree of the D major scale.

Identifying the 3 notes in the chord

The table below shows the D major scale, ordered to show the 7th note as the first column in the table.

To identify the triad chord note names, use the 1st, 3rd, and 5th columns / scale degrees, which are notes C#, E, and G.

D major scale from note #7
No.1234567
NoteC#DEF#GAB

Identifying the chord quality

To identify the triad chord quality that has these notes, begin by counting the number of half-tones / semitones between the root and each of the notes.

For the 3rd Interval (note 2 on the diagram) the distance between C# and E is 3 half-tones.

Now look at the complete Note interval table, and identify the note interval that has a distance of 3 half-tones (first column), and with an interval no. of 3 (last column).

The note interval name for the 3rd note / scale degree is therefore minor, also called m3 for short. More details of this interval are at C#-min-3rd.

Repeating this for the 5th note / scale degree, the distance between C# and G is 6 half-tones, and the note interval name is diminished (d5). More details of this interval are at C#-dim-5th.

Finally, we have the name of the two note intervals of this triad, and can now lookup the name of the triad chord quality having these intervals.

Looking at the Triad chord table, the name of the triad chord quality having minor(m3) and diminished(d5) note intervals is diminished.

And so the complete triad chord name prefixes the root note, C#, onto this quality, giving us the C# diminished chord.

C-sharp diminished triad chord

Scale chord names using a,b and c notation

The chord symbol viio could be followed by the letter a to indicate that it is C# diminished chord in root position (ie not inverted) - D major scale chord viioa.

Instead, viio could be followed by the letter b to indicate that it is C# diminished chord in 1st inversion - D major scale chord viiob.

Finally, letter c could be used to indicate that it is C# diminished chord in 2nd inversion - D major scale chord viioc.

Scale chord names using figured bass notation

In place of the b or c symbols above, figured bass symbols could be used to indicate inversions after the chord number symbols viio:

So in this key, viio6 refers to the C# diminished chord in 1st inversion, and viio64 refers to the C# diminished chord in 2nd inversion.

This completes the set of all triad chords that harmonize with the D major scale.

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