In this article you’ll learn how to construct the D minor triad as well as how to play it on piano and guitar.
We’ve also included sections on inversions for those that want a deeper understanding. Lastly, listen to some examples of popular songs that featured this triad.
Root, 3rd and 5th
The D minor triad is formed of the 1st, flat 3rd and flat 5th of the D major scale.
- D – root note
- F – minor 3rd above the root
- A – perfect 5th above the root
Here is the triad written on the stave in the treble clef.
Before you read on make sure that you have a basic understanding of intervals. Intervals are vital for understanding how triads are built. Check out our guide to major, minor and perfect intervals for more on this.
D Minor Triad on Piano
Below you can see how to play this triad on the keyboard or piano. This pattern of notes could also be played starting on any D note.
However, the order of the notes must be the same:
- D – lowest note
- F – middle note
- A – highest note
This is called ‘root position’.
D Min Triad on Guitar
There are two simple positions that you can use to play a D minor chord on guitar. Both positions can also be slide up or down the neck to play different minor triads.
A 1st inversion is where we take a triad but we start on the second note, which in this case is F natural. We still keep the A above, but then the D (or root) become the highest note.
This way of rearranging a triad gives us a different sound as the relative pitches of the three notes has changed.
- F – lowest note
- A – middle note
- D – highest note
1st inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 1st inversion of a D Minor chord by starting on a F natural. They play the A above and the D above this.
1st Inversion on Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing a D minor chord in the 1st inversion. Remember that we can only use certain shapes are the pitches of the three notes are important.
A 2nd inversion is where we take a triad but we start on the third note, which in this case is A natural. We still keep the D above this as we did from the 1st inversion. Then the F becomes the highest note in the chord.
- A – perfect 5th (lowest note)
- D – root note (middle note)
- F – minor 3rd (highest note)
We could construct a 2nd inversion starting on any A note in any octave. The only thing that must stay the same is that the we use the D above and the F above that.
2nd inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 2nd inversion of a D Min triad by starting on a A natural. They play the D above and the F above this.
2nd Inversion of Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing a D minor chord in the 2nd inversion. Remember that we can only use certain shapes are the pitches of the three notes are important.
Triads from the D Minor Scale
By looking at the D Minor scale we can actually make triads built on each note and only using notes from D minor. Below you can see a list of each triad we will create be starting on different notes of the scale.
- D Minor
- E Dim
- F Major
- G Minor
- A Minor
- Bb Major
- C Major
Famous Songs in D Minor
Here’s 3 famous examples of songs in a D Minor key. For this reason, they use D Minor triads, as the root note chord, prominently in their chord progressions.
‘Slam Dunk Da Funk’ – Five
‘Slam Dunk Da Funk’ by Five is an upbeat and catchy pop song that epitomises the energetic spirit of late-’90s boy band music (known for its infectious hooks and danceable rhythm).
‘Lose Yourself’ – Eminem
Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ is an iconic hip-hop anthem that reflects the artist’s journey and determination. It is celebrated for its lyrical prowess and message of resilience in the face of adversity.
‘Grenade’ – Bruno Mars
“Grenade” by Bruno Mars is a heartfelt ballad that focuses on the intensity of unrequited love. Mars’ soulful vocals and emotive storytelling created an instant classic.