Your Guide to the D Flat Major Chord
D flat Major chords have been around since Van Gogh gifted a woman with his chopped off ear. Back then, the Romantic period had nothing to do with star-crossed were-vamp lovers.
That won’t stop us though.
D flat major chords, we’re Never Gonna Give You Up .
Keep reading to find out how these chords have sweet-talked us through history.
Notes in the D Flat Major Scale
While we’re on the subject of romance, let me seduce you with some basics.
First, we’re going to call it Db or Dbmaj. That’s its shorthand and how you’ll see it notated most places.
Next, Db has a hot twin called C#. They are the same scale because they occur at the same time. This is called enharmonic.
The Db major scale has 7 notes organized in a series of whole steps and half steps. Also called tones and semitones.
If you are tickling the ivories, whole steps of a C major scale are all the white keys. If you went down a C Major chromatic scale you would alternate between the white keys and the black keys . Half steps are all the black keys.
On a guitar, if you pressed every fret, you’d be hitting the half steps. Every other frets would be a whole-step.
You can recognize the major scale with the famous sound: do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do
Check it out:
- Root: Db
- Major 2nd: Eb
- Major 3rd: F
- Major 4th: Gb
- Perfect 5th: Ab
- Major 6th: Bb
- Major 7th: C
The Db scale follows the pattern of:
Root, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, octave
Cheat sheet: There are half steps between notes 3 & 4 and 7 & 8. Eight, the octave, is the root note eight notes higher.
There is a whole system behind the scale degree names . For now, you only need to be able to recognize the names.
The D Flat Major Chord
Unless you play the didgeridoo, you’ll be able to put these chords to use right away.
Chords of the Db Major scale also follow a pattern:
Major (I), Minor(ii), Minor(iii), Major(IV), Major(V), Minor(vi), Diminished (VII)
Often called harmonies, chords are the essential building blocks to creating beautiful music.
D Flat Triads
Triads are the building blocks of all chords and the most common you’ll find.
A basic major triad is constructed by using the root, the major third, and the perfect fifth.
Put another way, we start with the root and stack on a note a 3rd above it and another a 3rd above that.
Here’s what it looks like:
- I. Db: (Db-F-Ab)
- ii. Eb minor: (Eb – Gb – Bb)
- iii. F minor: (F-Ab-C)
- IV. Gb Maj: (Gb-Bb-Db)
- V. Ab Maj: (Ab-C-Eb)
- vi. Bb minor: (Bb-Db-F)
- vii C diminished: (C-Eb-Gb)
Another popular chord form is the Power chord. Power chords are two note chords popularized by Rock music. They involve the fifth and the root but are still based off triads.
Can you guess which note was kicked out of the party?
Power chords are based off the major scale and are always the same formula in any scale.
Frederic Chopin changed the repertoire of piano students forever with his Nocturnes. Some have been reimagined in the key of D flat.
Building on the Basic Triad
In genres like Blues and Jazz, you’ll see the use of a fourth tone added to the basic triad. This is called the 7th.
Seventh notes are a third above the fifth in a chord.
Check out what this looks like in the key of Db:
Basic Triad/ 7th chord
- I. Dbmaj7 (Db-F-Ab-C)
- ii. Ebm7 (Eb-Gb-Bb-Db)
- iii. Fm7 (F-Ab-C-Eb)
- IV. Gbmaj7 (Gb-Bb-Db-F)
- V. Ab dominant 7 (Ab-C-Eb-Gb)
- vi. Bbm7 (Bb-Db-F-Ab)
- vii Cm7flat5 (C-Eb-Gb-Bb)
You can hear the extensive use of 7th chords in Girl from Ipanema by Gilberto & Jobim.
Extensions ascend like crystal stairs into the next octave of a scale.
The 9th and 13th scale degrees are the most common. These are the same as the 2nd and the 6th scale degrees only an octave higher.
In practice, these chords create four to seven-note harmonies. Four and five note chords are most common.
Notice that 9th and 13th chords include the 7th note as well:
- Db9 (D flat dominant 7 add 9): Db – F – Ab – B – Eb
- Db13 (D flat dominant 7 add 13): Dd – F – Ab – B – Bb
Listen to Ben Folds Five’s Underground for a bouncy use of the 13th chords.
Check out James Brown’s I Feel Good to hear 9th chords in practice. This sound is very effective in all of his music.
For something from the Romantic era with 9th chords, listen to Ravel’s Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte.
There’s nothing more romantic than Grungey Indie Rock.
Suspended chords are partly responsible for the dreamy sound of the 90s and early 2000s.
They occur when the major 3rd is omitted from a chord and replaced with the 2nd or 4th.
- Db: Db-F-Ab
- Dbsus2: Db-Eb-Ab
- Dbsus4: Db-Gb-Ab
Listen to the Googoo Dolls’ Iris for a heavy dose of sus chord pwnage.
Make It Work For You
The Romantic era was littered with epics of valiant heroes. Their daring journeys took them through moments of tension that delayed the inevitable end.
Music does the same.
All music is a series of building tension and delaying the resolution.
If you play a chordal instrument, writing music with chords will be easier for you. For everyone else there is melody.
Harmonies are built on top of melodies. Occasionally, the harmonies suggest a melody.
To get started, you’ll need to know the basics of chord families.
The three-chord families are Tonic, Subdominant, and Dominant. Substitute any of the chords for another within the chord families.
The chord families of the D flat Major scale are:
- Tonic: Db, Fminor, Bbminor
- SubDominant: Ebminor, Gb
- Dominant: AbMaj, Cdiminished/Cminor7flat5
Beginner rule of thumb: the Tonic leads to the Subdominant which leads to the Dominant which leads back to the Tonic.
In western music, this looks like the typical I-IV-V chord progression.
Some other common chord progressions you can use today are:
- 1-5-minor6-4, Db-Ab-Bbm-Gb
- 5-minor6-4-1, Ab-Bbm-Gb-Db
- minor6-4-1-5, Bbm-Gb-Db-Ab
- 4-1-5-minor6, Gb-Db-Ab-Bbm
Learn the Chords
D Flat Major chords are precious to our musical history. You only need to listen to a decade of hits to hear how it has been mastered. Check
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