D Major Scale on Piano

Notes, Fingering & How To

The D major scale on piano is an important scale to learn and one of the first few scales any piano student learns to play. 

This scale has 2 sharps - F# and C#. 

Here you'll find a picture / diagram of the scale, fingering (or finger patterns) for playing the scale on piano, the notes and a few other extras. 

D Major Scale - Notes

The D major scale goes from D to D and has 2 sharps (both black notes). The key of D has F# and C#

The notes of the D major scale are: D E F# G A B C# D

When playing this scale, it's important to remember the sharps both going up and going back down again. If something sounds off or not quite how it should, take a look at the sharps and check if you're playing them all. 

D Major Scale NotesNotes of the D Major Scale

Video Tutorial: D Major Scale On Piano

D Major Scale Fingering For Piano

When playing the D major scale on piano, you can use the basic scale fingering that you use for most scales (that start on white notes). 

This is the fingering pattern you need to use for the D scale. 

Right Hand: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

Left Hand: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

D Major Scale Piano Fingering for RIght HandFingering for Right Hand

In your right hand when you play this scale, your thumb will cross under finger 3 - which is the F# -  when going up. (Finger 3 will cross back over when going down.)

That's an easy way to remember for the right hand, cross after the sharp.

In left hand, finger 3 will cross over your thumb when going up. You'll have your C# just before the final note of the scale. Finger 3 will cross under your thumb (on B) when going down. 

D major scale fingering for left hand

Scales Resource for Piano:

Fingering for all scales, including the D major scale on piano, can be found in the Complete Book of Scales, Chords and Arpeggios here on Amazon (this is an affiliate link).

This is a handy resource when learning scales. 

D Major Scale - Fingering Up & Down

To play the D major scale ascending and descending, use the following fingering. 

Note: if you're just beginning and this seems complicated, work on just going up only. After that is comfortable (enough), move onto going back down again. 

Here are pictures / diagrams of the D major scale on piano going both up and back down for the treble clef / right hand and the bass clef / left hand

D major scale fingering right hand treble clefFingering for Right Hand - D Major Scale on Piano
D major scale left hand bass clef fingeringFingering for Left Hand - D Major Scale on Piano

D Major Scale - 2 Octaves

When playing the D major scale 2 octaves, you'll need cross you thumb (1) under the C# when going up for the second octave in your right hand. Left will cross finger 4 onto E when going up. 

Right Hand 2 Octave Fingering for D Major:

Up: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

Down: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

Left Hand 2 Octave Fingering for D Major:

Up: 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

Down: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

The Key Signature of D Major

You now know the key signature of D major - which is great!

The key signature of D major is 2 sharps, F# and C#. 

(If you have learned the G major scale, you'll remember that it has a F#. All keys with more than 1 sharp will all have F#, all keys with 2 or more sharps will have F# and C#.)

Understand the D Chord From D Scale

Another great thing you can learn and understand now that you know the D major scale is the D major chord. 

This chord is written as just a D and major chords are built off of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the major scale

If you look at the picture of the scale, you can see the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes are D F# A. Those three notes make the D chord and you can play that now as well. 

What's important to take note of here is that you're playing the F# and not the F. And this is why. You're playing F# because it's part of the scale and key of D. This is an important piece of chord theory to understand. 

Let's add onto this also and look at the DM7 chord. This is a D major seventh chord with the chord formula of the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the scale. If you look at the scale, you can see those notes are D F# A C#. Both the F# and C# are played (instead of F and C natural) because they are part of the key signature and scale. 

What To Practice?

This week, practice the D major scale in any of the following ways (depending on your level):

  • 1 octave, hands separately
  • 1 octave, hands together (slow at first!)
  • 2 octaves, hands separately
  • 2 octaves, hands together

Also try play the D chord when you get to the end of your scale. 

Further Resources:

For more major scales, visit the major scales page.

Complete Book of Scales, Chords and Arpeggios here on Amazon (this is an affiliate link).

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