Playing the D Major Chord on Piano

Want to play chords in all their variations? We’ve broken down the D major chord in this step-by-step guide. 

Playing so many notes simultaneously in different combinations is complicated, especially for beginners.

But have no fear! There are simple tools in music theory for understanding chords. This short article explains the D major chord and how to play it in all its positions and forms. 

Chords and their Inversions.

When you play a combination of two or more notes simultaneously, this is a chord. The most used chord is a triad which has three notes. 

We build the major chords from two intervals, a major third and a minor third. You can figure it out by taking a major scale’s first, third, and fifth notes. 

An inversion is when you change the order of these three notes. There are three kinds of positions for a triad:

Root position: 1, 3, 5.

First inversion: 3, 5, 1.

Second inversion: 5, 1, 3. 

Making a D major chord. 

To understand a D major chord, let’s start from the D major scale.

Now, let’s play a D major chord by taking the first, third, and fifth degrees of the scale. This is D major in root position:

D major chord in first inversion.

Remember, the first inversion is when you play the chord in the following order: 3, 5, and 1.

D major chord in second inversion.

The 2nd inversion is when you play the chord in the following order: 5, 1, and 3.

Advanced tip: Adding sevenths. 

To make your chords more colorful, add a seven. In the key of D, the seven is C#, meaning that the flat seven is C. 

If you know how to play a D major chord, you can easily add sevens to make four new types of chords. Each one with its unique character:

Check out this resource for more information on major chords, check out Piano Chords for Beginners

Want to learn some popular songs that use the D major chord?

There are many to choose from, but we’ve selected a handful you should recognize.

  • Hotel California – The Eagles
  • Wake Me Up – Avicci
  • Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
  • With or Without You – U2
  • Royals – Lorde

Play the day away!

What are you waiting for? Don’t forget to download the Simply Piano app for interactive guidance in playing D major and plenty of other chords.