The D flat major scale is a major scale consisting of mostly “black keys,” as all five of the piano’s black keys are in D flat major.
D flat major is actually composed of all the same notes as the C sharp major scale. See our article on the C Sharp major Scale.
The pitches of D Flat Major are as follows: D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭,B♭, C, D♭.
Written out on sheet music in the treble clef, these are the pitches of D Flat Major:
D flat major has a relative minor scale, the B flat minor scale, which also contains 5 flats.
Here are the notes of its relative minor, the B flat minor scale:
D flat major has an unusual parallel minor scale, which is D flat minor.
The reason D flat minor is unusual is that it is rarely employed in practice, as the 6th note is technically a B double flat.
Instead, C sharp minor is much more frequently employed as there are no double sharps or double flats.
D Flat Major Chords & Triad
To create the basic D flat major chord, pick out every other note of the D flat major scale until you reach the fifth note of the scale.
The notes of a D flat major chord, which is the same as the D flat major triad, are D♭, F, and A♭.
When notated, the D flat major chord appears as follows:
Another major chord using D♭as the root, D flat major 7, uses the following notes: D♭, F, A♭, and C.
Here are some more major chords using D flat major:
D flat major 9: D♭, F, A♭, C, and E♭
D flat major 11: D♭, F, A♭, C, E♭, and G♭
D flat major 13: D♭, F, A♭, C, E♭, G♭, and B♭
What is interesting about the 13 chord is that it employs every single note of the D flat scale. So, if you played all the notes of d flat major at once, you are technically playing a D flat major 13 scale!
In addition to the D flat major chords, there are many other chords that can be derived from the key of D flat major.
Here are all the primary triads that can be found in the key of D flat major:
D Flat Major: D♭, F, A♭
E Flat Minor: E♭, G♭, B♭
F Minor: F, A♭, C
G Flat Major: G♭, B♭, D♭
A Flat Major: A♭, C, E♭
B Flat Minor: B♭, D♭, F
C Diminished: C, E♭, G♭
D Flat Guitar Chord
The most basic D flat guitar chord is played on the four upper strings of the instrument.
Hold the third fret of the D string, 1st frets of the G and E strings, and 2nd fret of the B string.
For a diagram of the D flat guitar chord, here it is as follows:
Like any other chord, there are numerous ways to perform the D flat major guitar chord. However, the diagram above is one of the first ones a guitarist learns.
D Flat Major Scale Bass Clef
Although music is often taught primarily in the treble clef, it is important to know what the d flat major scale looks like in bass clef.
This is what the D flat major scale looks like in bass clef:
Instruments that read the bass clef include the double bass, electric bass, tuba, cello, trombone, bassoon, timpani, and contrabassoon, among others.
D Flat Major Scale Degrees
D flat major consists of seven unique scale degrees. Each scale degree has a specific name.
F – Mediant
G♭ – Subdominant
A♭ – Dominant
C – Leading Tone
D Flat Major Scale On the Piano
The D flat major scale fits under the hand nicely when playing piano; with the right hand, the scale is played starting with the 2nd finger, and the left hand, the scale is played starting with the 3rd finger.
In the picture above, the scale is marked by the grey dots.
Music Using D Flat Major
D flat major is a favorite key of Stevie Wonder, who frequently employs “black keys” key signatures, such as D flat, Gb, and Eb, regularly into his music.
However, its use in classical music is actually much more limited; very few symphonies are in the key of D flat major, with Wikipedia only listing 5 total symphonies in the key of D flat major.
Why is D flat major so infrequently employed in classical music?
Perhaps it is because it is less idiomatic to most instruments.
Winds and brass do favor flat keys, however most symphonic classical works in a flat key do not normally have more than 3 flats. Mozart himself wrote symphonies in F, B flat, and E flat, but never in A flat or D flat.
One of classical music’s most famous compositions in D flat major is the “Raindrops” Prelude by Frederic Chopin. It’s called “raindrops” as D flat major’s dominant tone, A flat, is repeated throughout the composition, which supposedly resembles the sound of “raindrops.”
Composer Hector Berlioz, according to Wikipedia, called the key of D flat major “majestic” in his 1856 text Treatise on Instrumentation.
In the Romantic era, the key was much more widely employed than in the Classical Era of music. Liszt, Chopin, and even Tchaikovsky (opening of the first piano concerto) wrote significant music in D flat major.
List of Works in D flat major
Chopin – Preludes Op. 28, No. 15 – “Raindrops”
Chopin – Etudes Op. 25, No. 8
Chopin – Nocturne in D-flat, Op. 27
Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor (second movement is in D flat major)
Vincent D’Indy – String Quartet No. 3, Op. 96
Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 9 (The “adagio” movement is in D flat major)
Prokofiev – Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat major
Debussy – Clair De Lune
Schumann – Requiem