D minor scale

Interested in learning the D minor scale?

The D minor scale is a great place to start for guitar players who are interested in exploring new sounds. It’s also a great scale to know if you want to write your own songs.

In this lesson, we’ll teach you the notes of the D minor scale and its chords, as well as some common chord progressions in that key. You will know how to play and practice the scale on the guitar.

Read the complete article below on the D minor scale now and get started learning today!

Introduction To D Minor Scale

The D minor key is often associated with subdued melancholy, grief, and anxiety, often associated with women.

However, some of the most popular classical and famous pieces have been done in D minor. Starting with the entire “The Art of the Fugue” by J.S. Bach, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, to Michael Haydn’s only minor-key symphony, No. 29 is in D minor.

The list of symphonies in the key of D minor is attached here.

Minor Scale Structure

The notes of the natural minor scales can be obtained by the scale formula given below:

{W H W W H W W} or {T S T T S T T} or {2 1 2 2 1 2 2}

You may use any of the three formulas to know the notes of the minor scales. Or use a more detailed structural representation given below:

R – T – M2 – S – m3 – T – P4 – T – P5 – S – m6 – T – m7 – T – R(O). Note that R(O) is the tonic note, an octave higher than the R.

Intervals Of Minor Scales

The intervals of any natural minor scale between the root and various notes in sequence are

R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – m7 – R(O).

In addition,

  1. The intervals of any harmonic minor scale are R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – m6 – M7 – R(O).
  2. The intervals of any melodic minor scale are R – M2 – m3 – P4 – P5 – M6 – M7 – R(O).

D Minor Scale Notes

Based on the above intervals, the seven notes of the three minor scales are:

  1. D Natural minor scale: D, E, F, G, A, Bb, and C, D(O).
  2. D Harmonic Minor Scale: D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C#, D(O).
  3. D Melodic Minor Scale in ascending: D, E, F, G, A, B, C#, D(O).

Note the raised seventh note in the harmonic minor scale and the raised 6th and 7th notes in the melodic minor scale.

The D minor scale has a key signature with one flat which means that you have to use one black key while playing it on the piano keyboard along with the six white keys.

Scale Degrees

The D Natural minor scale’s intervals, their scale degrees, and the notes of the D minor, D harmonic minor, and D melodic minor scale in ascending order are shown in the table below.

Intervals Root M2 m3 P4 P5 m6 m7P8
Scale Degrees12345671(8)
Natural MinorDEFGABbCD(O)
Harmonic MinorDEFGABbC#D(O)
Melodic MinorDEFGABC#D(O)

Diagram Of This Scale On The Treble And Bass Clef:

The diagrams of the D minor scale showing its notes on the treble and bass clef in ascending and descending order are placed below.

Treble Clef:

D Minor Scale on the Treble Clef in Ascending and Descending form

Bass Clef:

D Minor Scale on the Bass Clef in Ascending and Descending form

D Minor Scale Guitar Positions

The notes of the D minor scale spread on the fretboard up to the 14th fret are shown in the diagram below. You can see the entire scale in a single line on the open D string. As you are aware that the notes repeat after the 12th fret on the fretboard.

D Minor Scale Up to 14 Fret

The five patterns of the D minor scale based on the CAGED system open chord shapes are shown in the chord diagrams below.

D Minor Scale Patterns

The main characteristics of the five patterns are:

1st Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: E open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: Open strings to 3rd fret.
  3. The number of root notes: Two.
  4. Lowest root note position: Open D string

2nd Pattern

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

3rd Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: C open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 5th fret to 8th fret.
  3. The number of root notes: Two.
  4. Lowest root note position: 5th fret on the 5th string

4th Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: A open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 7th fret to 11th fret.
  3. The number of root notes: Three.
  4. Lowest root note position: 10th fret on the 6th string

5th Pattern

  1. Chord shape based on: G open chord shape.
  2. Pattern lies between the frets: 9th fret to 13th fret.
  3. The number of root notes: Three.
  4. Lowest root note position: 10th fret on the 6th string

Practicing The Scale Patterns

We have described in detail how to play and practice any scale in our articles on D Major and E major scales. You may refer to the fingerings and other playing and practicing details there.

In summary, for the patterns that span 4 frets, you can use one finger to play notes on each fret. For example, in the 3rd pattern, you can use the index finger for the 5th fret, the middle finger for the 6th fret, the ring finger for the 7th fret, and the little finger for the 8th fret.

You must play each pattern with the lowest root as the first note. Play up to the highest note on the 1st string, then turn around to the lowest note on the 6th string before returning back to the lowest root.

What Are The Chords Of the D Minor key?

The chords formed by the seven-scale degrees of the D minor scale as the root note, their designation, and qualities are given in the table below.

Scale Degrees1234567
Chord DesignationiiidimIIIivvVIVII
Chord NamesDmEdimFGmAmBbC
Chord QualityminordiminishedMajorminorminorMajorMajor

The summary of the seven chords is:

  1. Three major chords – III, VI, and VII – F major, Bb major, and C major.
  2. Three minor chords – i, iv, and v – Dm, Gm, and Bbm.
  3. One diminished chord – ii°, Edim.

What Are The Notes In These Chords?

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 – F – m3 – BbE – G – BbEdim
3R – F – M3 – A – m3 – CF – A – CF
4R – G – m3 – Bb – M3 – DG – Bb – DGm
5R – A – m3 – C – M3 – EA – C – EAm
6R – Bb – M3 – D – m3 – FBb – D – FBb
7R – C – M3 – E – m3 – GC – E – GC

Relative & Parallel Minor Of D Minor

The relative major key of the D natural minor is the F major. Alternatively, D minor is the relative minor of the F major. All the relative scales carry the same notes.

F Major Scale: F – G – A – Bb – C – D – E – F(O).

The parallel scale of D natural minor is the D major scale with the notes,

D – E – F# – G – A – B – C# – D(O)

Songs In The Key Of D Minor

The popular songs in the key of D minor are:

  1. “Careless Whispers” by Wham.
  2. “Like a Prayer” by Madonna.
  3. “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd.
  4. “Bad” by Michael Jackson.
  5. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits.
  6. “Come Together” by the Beatles.
  7. “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele.
  8. “Killing in the name” by Rage Against The Machine.

Conclusion

Now that you know all there is to the D minor scale, it’s time for you to get practicing! Remember to keep at it, and eventually, you’ll be playing like a pro. If you have any questions or need clarification on anything discussed in this article, please leave a comment below, and we will be more than happy to help out.

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