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D Major Chord on Guitar, Piano and Ukulele – How to Play it

The D major chord is built from a root note (D), a major third (E), and a perfect fifth (G):

  • Type: major triad.
  • Formule: 1 3 5.
  • Music notes: D (1) F# (3) A (5).
  • Chords to play with: IV (G) y V (A).
D chord pentagram staff stave

D chord [Musical explanation]

The D major chord is a major triad with formula 1 – 3 – 5. Therefore, to build it we need D (1), F# (3), A (5):

what notes are in the D chord

This is due to the fact that a major chord is made up of 2 third intervals:

  • A major interval (4 half steps between the 3rd and root).
  • A minor inteval (3 half steps between the 5th and 3rd).

If we apply this principle to the D chord we obtain that:

  • F# is the major third of D because it is 4 half steps above the root.
  • A is the perfect fifth of D because it is 3 half steps above the 3rd.

Thus, this confirms that the D major chord is defined by:

Root (D) – Major Third (F#) – Perfect Fifth (A)

D Guitar Chord

The D major chord guitar has the following shape on the fretboard:

D major guitar

Let’s analyze in detail this chord diagram above to make sure that we understand how to play the D on guitar:

D major chord on guitar
D guitar diagram

Let’s start by analyzing the 3 circles in blue, which indicate that on the strings 3 (G), 2 (B) and 1 (E) we have to place the fingers 1 (index), 2 (middle) and 3 (ring finger).

Note by the way the number 1 in black on the left that indicates on which fret we start playing the chord.

On the other hand, at the top we see that we have the characters:

X  X D  A  D  F#

This simply means that in the:

  • Sixth string there is no sound.
  • Fifth string there is no sound.
  • Fourth string sounds the D note.
  • Third string sounds the A note.
  • Second string sounds the D note.
  • First string sounds the F# note.

And at the bottom we find the numbers:

1  5  1  3

This indicates that in the:

  • Sixth string There is no number because there is no sound.
  • Fifth string There is no number because there is no sound.
  • Fourth string sounds the root (1).
  • Third string sounds the perfect fifth (5).
  • Second string sounds the root (1).
  • First string sounds the major third (3).

⚠️ Important: it is not mandatory to memorize all this information to play the D chord on guitar. But it is highly recommended to know it in order to understand the musical theory behind each chord.

Other ways to play the D guitar chord

In addition to the diagram shown at the beginning of the article, we can also find the D chord in the following fretboard positions:

D major chord guitar

D major triad chords and inversions

Triads

D major guitar triad chord

First Inversion (D/F#)

D/F# guitar chord first inversion

Second Inversion (D/A)

D/A guitar chord second inversion

What chords are in D major?

The D major scale harmonized results on the following chords:

D (I) – Em (ii) – F#m (iii) – G (IV) – A (V) – Bm (vi) – C#º (viiº)

D major scale harmonized

A very good chord to practice with D is the A chord, since it is the fifth chord in the progression and the dominant.

D major chord

D Ukulele Chord

Here you can see as well the D uke chord diagram:

D major Ukulele
D on ukulele

D Piano Chord

To play the D chord on piano we only need to find the same music notes on its keys:

D piano chord
D piano

First Inversion (D/F#)

D/F# piano chord 1st inversion

Second Inversión (D/A)

D/A piano chord 2nd inversion

Music scales in which the B major chord can be found

  • D major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • D Em G♭m G A Bm D♭dim
  • G major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • G Am Bm C D Em G♭dim
  • A major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • A Bm D♭m D E Gbm A♭dim
  • B minor natural scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Bm D♭dim D Em G♭m G A
  • F# natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • F#m G#dim A Bm C#m D E
  • E natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Em G♭dim G Am Bm C D
  • G harmonic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Gm Adim B♭aug Cm D Eb G♭dim
  • F# harmonic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • F#m G#dim Aaug Bm C# D Fdim
  • G natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Gm Am B♭aug C D Edim G♭dim
  • A natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Am Bm Caug D E G♭dim Abdim

D Major Chord PDF

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