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How To Play the D Major Scale on a Piano Keyboard

August 4, 2013 by  

Structure

A one octave D Major scale is made up from the eight notes D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# and D. This can be extended across the keyboard as required for two, three or four octave scales.

Here are the notes of one octave depicted on a piano keyboard diagram.

D Major Keyboard Diagram

D Major Keyboard Diagram

Fingering

Number the fingers on both left and right hands as follows:

  • Thumb: 1
  • Index: 2
  • Middle: 3
  • Ring: 4
  • Little: 5

Here’s a diagram of how to number the fingers:

Left and right hands fingering for musical scales

Left and right hands fingering for D Major scale

Right Hand Playing

The ascending one octave D Major scale is most easily played by the right hand with the fingering 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Should you wish to play more than one octave, replace the ’5′ with a ’1′, continuing the sequence from the start, thus: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1…

To play the descending one octave D Major scale, reverse the sequence thus: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1.

Should you be playing more than one octave, repeat the sequence from finger ’4′, thus: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3…

Left Hand Playing

The ascending one octave D Major scale is most easily played by the left hand with the fingering 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1.

Should you wish to play more than one octave, repeat the sequence from finger ’4′, thus: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3…

Continued below...

To play the descending one octave D Major scale, reverse the sequence thus: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Should you be playing more than one octave, replace the ’5′ with a ’1′, continuing the sequence from the start, thus: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1…

Playing Both Hands Together

Once you’ve practiced both hands separately, it’s time to play the two hands simultaneously. There’s no particular trick to this — it just takes time to get used to it.

Scales are generally played with the hands one octave — that is, eight white notes — apart.

Start slowly, concentrating on fingering and playing each pair of notes at the same time, and gradually build up the speed. Ensure the scale maintains a regular rhythm.

Accenting

Sometimes scales are played with a slight accent on every fourth note. This works well for two and four octave scales.

Music Score

Here is the music score for one octave of the D Major scale, with the right hand starting on the D above Middle C and the left hand starting on the D below middle C.

D Major Scale music manuscript

D Major Scale music manuscript

Audio

The following WAV file is of a single octave D Major scale both ascending and descending.

D Major Scale WAV

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