D Harmonic Minor Scale

This article on the D Harmonic Minor Scale will cover all its essential aspects like music theory, notes, intervals, scale formula, layouts on the piano keyboard, guitar fretboard, guitar tabs, fingerings, chords, modes, etc.

Read the complete article below to know all this and more!

Harmonic Minor Scale Structure

As you may already know, the Harmonic minor scale was created to overcome the weak resolution of the natural minor scale. The 7th note of a natural minor scale is a subtonic, which is a whole tone or two-half steps away from the octave, resulting in lower tendencies to resolve to a tonic note at the octave.

This 7th note is raised in the Harmonic minor scale resulting in a leading tone. This also results in a dominant V major chord and a viio diminished chord, which naturally translates to a fully diminished 7th chord, as we will see in the section on chords.

The scale formula for the Harmonic minor scale is

{W H W W H WH H} or {T S T T S TS S} or {2 1 2 2 1 3 1}

In this formula,

  • H and W represent the half-step and whole-step intervals, respectively.
  • S and T represent the intervals in semitones and whole tones.
  • WH and TS represent an Augmented 2nd interval comprising of 3 semitones (enharmonically equivalent to m3).

This TS interval is what provides the characteristic exotic sound to the Harmonic minor scales. Compare it with the natural minor scale formula {T S T T S T T} or the melodic minor scale {T S T T T T S}. Both other minor scales do not have this leap.

In terms of the notes of the major scales, the scale formula for the harmonic minor is

[1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7]

So, you can derive the notes of the Harmonic minor scale by lowering the 3rd and 6th degrees of the parallel major scale by a half step.

Intervals Of Harmonic Minor Scales

From the above formulas, you can derive the intervals of the Harmonic minor scale as

R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – M7 – R(O).

Notice the M7 interval from the tonic note.

D Harmonic Minor Scale Notes

Using D as the first note in the above formulas, we get the notes of the D Harmonic minor scale as,

{D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C#, and D(O)}.

C# is the leading tone for this scale that wants to resolve to the tonic note D(O), an octave higher. The notes of D harmonic minor carry one sharp and one flat. The Harmonic minors use the key signature of the parallel natural minor scale on the sheet music, with accidentals to denote the individual raised seventh notes.

Similarly, the relative minor and relative major scales are defined based on the natural minor scales that carry the same key signature.

You require six white keys (including the octave) and two black keys to play this scale on the Piano Keyboard. The piano diagram is shown below, with the relevant keys marked by red circles.

D Harmonic Minor Scale on Piano Keyboard

Scale Degrees

The intervals between the notes of the D Harmonic minor scale, the notes, and the scale degrees, are shown in the table below.

Intervals Root M2 m3 P4 P5 m6M7P8
Scale Degrees12345671(8)
Melodic MinorDEFGABbC#D(O)

Diagram Of This Scale On The Treble And Bass Clef:

The notation diagrams of the D Harmonic minor scale ascending and descending are shown below, showing its notes on the treble and bass clef.

Treble Clef:

D Harmonic Minor Scale on Treble Clef

Bass Clef:

D Harmonic Minor Scale on Bass Clef

D Harmonic Minor Scale Guitar Positions

To play any harmonic minor scale, you have five patterns derived from the minor modification of the regular CAGED patterns. The combined layout of these patterns on the complete fretboard is shown below.

You can see the complete scale in one line from fret 3rd to 15th on String 2.

D Harmonic Minor Scale Up to 15 Fret

The five individual patterns are shown in the diagrams below. The main characteristics of these diagrams are given below.

D Harmonic Minor Scale Patterns

1st Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: E open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 7th to 11th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Three.
  4. Lowest root position: 10th fret on the 6th string.
D Harmonic Minor - E Shape

2nd Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: D open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 9th to 13th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Three.
  4. Lowest root position: 10th fret on the 6th string.
D Harmonic Minor - D Shape

3rd Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: C open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 12th fret to 16th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Two.
  4. Lowest root position: 12th fret on the 4th string.
D Harmonic Minor - C Shape

4th Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: A open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 2nd to 6th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Two.
  4. Lowest root position: 5th fret on the 5th string.
D Harmonic Minor - A Shape

5th Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: G open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 5th to 9th fret.
  3. The number of roots: Two.
  4. Lowest root position: 5th fret on the 5th string.
D Harmonic Minor - G Shape

Practicing The Scale Patterns

The recommended fingering diagrams for the five patterns are given below. You can modify them if you are comfortable with slightly different patterns.

D Harmonic Minor Scale Fingerings

What Are The Chords Of The D Harmonic Minor Key?

The chords of any Harmonic minor scale are built similarly to other scales like a major or minor scale. You just need to stack the intervals of thirds (major or minor) over the root note. Every scale degree is made the root of one such chord.

The chords formed from the notes of the D Harmonic minor scale, their Roman numerals, and chord qualities are given in the table below.

Scale Degrees1234567
Chord DesignationiiidimIII+ivVVIviidim
Chord NamesDmEdimF+GmABbC#dim
Chord QualityminordiminishedAugmentedminorMajorMajordiminished

The following triad chords result from the D Harmonic minor scale.

  1. Two major chords – V and VI – A major and Bb major. The V chord (A Major) is the dominant chord for the scale.
  2. Two minor chords – i and iv – D minor and G minor chord.
  3. One Augmented chord – III+ – F Augmented chord.
  4. Two diminished chords – ii° and vii°, Edim and C#dim.

The seven triads, their note names, and their intervals are shown in the table below.

Scale DegreesIntervalsChord NotesChord Name
1R – D – m3 – F – M3 – AD – F – ADm
2R – E – m3 – G – m3 – BbE – G – BbEdim
3R – F – M3 – A – m3 – C#F – A – C#F+
4R – G – m3 – Bb – M3 – DG – Bb – DGm
5R – A – m3 – C# – M3 – EA – C# – EA
6R – Bb – M3 – D – m3 – FBb – D – FBb
7R – C# – M3 – E – m3 – GC# – E – GC#dim

What Are The Seventh Chords Of The D Harmonic Minor Key?

The 7th chords are constructed by adding the seventh note of the scale to the triads. The following seventh chords naturally occur in D Harmonic minor scale.

  • D Minor Major 7th Chord – DmM7 – imM7 – [D F A C#].
  • E half Diminished 7th Chord – Em7b5 – iiø7 – [E G Bb D].
  • F Augmented Major 7th Chord – F Major7#5 – bIIIMaj7#5 – [F A C# E].
  • G Minor 7th Chord – Gm7 – ivm7 – [G Bb D F].
  • A Dominant 7th Chord – A7 – V7 – [A C# E G].
  • Bb Major 7th Chord – BbMaj7 – VIM7 – [Bb D F A].
  • C# Full Diminished 7th Chord – C#o7 – viio7 – [C# E G Bb].

The Modes Of The D Harmonic Minor Scale.

The seven diatonic modes of the D Harmonic minor scale are:

  1. D Harmonic minor or Aeolian #7. The mode has structure [1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7], hence known as Aeolian #7. It has notes [D E F G A Bb C#].
  2. E Locrian #6 – The structure is [1 b2 b3 4 b5 6 b7], and the notes are [E F G A Bb C# D].
  3. F Ionian #5 – The structure is [1 2 3 4 #5 6 7], and the notes are [F G A Bb C# D E]. This is also known as the F Augmented Major mode.
  4. G Dorian #4 – The structure is [1 2 b3 #4 5 6 b7], and the notes are [G A Bb C# D E F]. This is also known as the G Ukrainian Dorian or Altered Dorian mode.
  5. ‘A’ Phrygian #3 – The structure is [1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7], and the notes are [A Bb C# D E F G]. This is also known as the ‘A’ Phrygian Dominant mode.
  6. Bb Lydian #2 – The structure is [1 #2 3 #4 5 6 7], and the notes are [Bb C# D E F G A].
  7. C# Super-Locrian scale bb7 – The structure is [1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 bb7], and the notes are [C# D E F G A Bb]. It is sometimes referred to as the Altered Diminished mode also.

Conclusion

You now have all the required information to start working on the D Harmonic Minor scale. We advise you to put up a practice routine for the same. If you need more information or clarifications, feel free to write to us in the comments section below.

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