The D Minor scale is a 7 note scale that uses the following notes:
D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C
The scale is usually written as starting and ending on D and it can be repeating at higher or lower octaves. D Minor is a diatonic scale, which means that it is in a key, in this case the key of D Minor!
The Natural Minor Scale
There are three types of minor scale: the natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor. In this post we will stick to D Natural Minor Scale, but you learn about D Harmonic Minor and D Melodic Minor in our other articles.
How is the D Natural Minor scale created?
All Natural Minor scales follow a specific pattern of tones and semitones (steps and half steps). The tone pattern is:
Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone
If we take the start at a C and follow the pattern we will get the C Natural Minor Scale. To create the D Natural Minor scale, follow the tone/semitone pattern starting on the note D.
Whichever note you start on, you will always achieve the minor scale starting on this note.
A Minor Scale on the Piano
As you can see, if we were to play this scale on the piano diagram we only use one black key for the B flat.
To play this scale on the piano use the fingers written below.
D Minor Scale on the Guitar
To play the D Natural Minor scale on the guitar use the tab below.
Degrees of the Scale: D Minor
Each note in the D Minor scale has a position that we call the degree of the scale. The first note of the scale is called the ‘tonic’ note.
Key Signature for D Minor
Rather than writing the flat signs on the individual notes, we can now make use of the key signature. D Minor is the relative minor of F Major. You can work this out because D is the sixth note of F Major.
This means that they both share a key signature and have one flat, B flat.
Here is D minor written out with the key signature
D Minor Scale in Different Clefs
Below is the D Natural Minor Scale written out in the treble clef, both ascending and descending.
Below is the D Natural Minor Scale written out in the bass clef, both ascending and descending.
Below is the D Natural Minor Scale written out in the alto clef, both ascending and descending.
Below is the D Natural Minor Scale written out in the tenor clef, both ascending and descending.
What is the Relative Major of D Minor
As you can see from the circle of fifths diagram D Minor is the relative minor of F Major. Or to say it another way: F Major is the relative major of D Minor. This means that F Major and D Minor share the same key signature and how one flat, Bb.
This means that both scale are identical except for the fact that D Minor start on an ‘D’ and F Major starts on a ‘F’.
What are the chords in the D Minor scale?
There are chords starting on each note of the A Minor Scale. To learn more, see our dedicated post on D Minor Chords.
What do we mean when we say a piece is ‘in the key of D Minor’?
If we say that a piece of music is in the key of D Minor, this means a few things:
- The key signature will have one flat (Bb) as the relative major is F major.
- The tonic (or root note) of the piece will be D natural. 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 D Minor.