The D Flat Major Scale: The Complete Guide

By Jade Bultitude
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The D flat Major scale contains 7 notes: Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db

D Flat Major Scale, Written in Treble Clef, Note Names underneath each note
D Flat Major Scale

You might see the scale written as starting and ending on a Db and this can give the scale a ‘complete’ sound. The scale can also be repeating at higher or lower octaves and technically goes on forever.

D Flat Major is a diatonic scale, which means that it is in a key, in this case the key of Db!

How is the Db Major scale created?

All Major scales follow a specific pattern of tones and semitones (steps and half steps). The tone pattern is:

Tone, Tone, Semi-tone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semi-tone

If we take the start at a C and follow the pattern we will get the C Major Scale. To create the D flat Major scale, follow the tone/semitone pattern starting on the note Db. 

 Whichever note you start on, you will always achieve the major scale starting on this note. 

D Flat Major Scale on the Piano

As you can see, if we were to play this scale on the piano diagram we make use of five black keys.  

To play this scale on the piano (with the right hand) use the fingering written below. 

D Flat Major Scale on the Guitar

To play Db Major on the guitar use the tab below. 

Degrees of the Scale: Db Flat Major  

Each note in the Db Major scale has a position that we call the degree of the scale. The first note of the scale is called the ‘tonic’ note. 

All the degree of the scale have specific names as shown below.

  • 1st – Tonic
  • 2nd – Supertonic
  • 3rd – Mediant
  • 4th – Subdominant
  • 5th – Dominant
  • 6th – Submediant
  • 7th Leading Note

Key Signature for Db Major

Rather than writing the flat signs on the individual notes, we can now make use of the key signature. Because every single B, E, A, D and G in the Db major scale major are flat, we can simply write this at the start of the piece!

Db Major Key Signature

And here it is with the full scale.

Learn more about key signatures with our complete guide.

D Flat Major Scale in Different Clefs

Treble Clef 

Below is the Db Major Scale written out in the treble clef, both ascending and descending. 

Db Major Scale – Treble Clef

Bass Clef

Below is the Db Major Scale written out in the bass clef, both ascending and descending. 

Db Major Scale – Bass Clef

Alto Clef

Below is the Db Major Scale written out in the alto clef, both ascending and descending. 

Db Major Scale – Alto Clef

Tenor Clef

Below is the Db Major Scale written out in the tenor clef, both ascending and descending. 

Db Major Scale – Tenor Clef

What is the Relative Minor of the D Flat Major Scale?

As you can see from the circle of fifths below, B flat minor is the relative minor scale or D flat Major. This means that B flat minor has the same 5 flats as D flat major, but it start and ends on a Bb.

Circle of Fifths showing Db Major and Bb Minor

Learn more about Minor Scales with our complete guide.

What are the chords in the Db major scale?

There are chords start on each note of the D Flat Scale. See our dedicated post on chords in D flat major.

 What do we mean when we say a piece is ‘in the key of D flat major’?

 If we say that a piece of music is in the key of D flat major, this means a few things:

  • The key signature will have five flats, these being the following notes B flat, E flat, A flat, D flat and G flat.
  • The tonic (or root note) of the piece will be D flat. This note will sound the most stable in the whole piece
  • The piece will mostly use notes from this scale, these could be in any octave.
  • The chords used will be those chords that are in Db major. 

What’s Next

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Jade is a flute player and music educator with a passion for educating the next generation of musicians. She is a Masters Graduate from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Jade has been helping people learn music theory for more than 10 years from pre school children all the way to degree level studies.