Let’s look at how to build a D sharp minor scale on the piano. We’ll learn how to build both D sharp natural minor and D sharp harmonic minor scales.
What Are Minor Scales?
Minor scales are groups of eight notes, played in alphabetical order, starting and ending on the same note. They’re groups of notes used to write songs.
Songs written in the key of D sharp minor used the notes of the D sharp minor scale to write the song.
Three Types of Minor Scales
There are three types of minor scales:
- Natural minor
- Harmonic minor
- Melodic minor
Natural Minor Scales
Natural minor scales each have a relative major scale on the piano. This means these two scales use the same notes, but start and end on different notes.
To build a natural minor scale, start on the sixth note of a major scale, and play through the notes of that major scale.
Another way to build a natural minor scale is to play through a pattern of half-steps and whole steps.
A half-step is the distance from one note to the very next, whether black or white.
A whole step is two half-steps.
To build a natural minor scale, we can play:
W – H – W – W – H – W – W
How to Build a D Sharp Natural Minor Scale
Or we can start on D♯ and play the note one whole step up, which is E♯ (the reason we call it “E♯” instead of “F” is because scale notes must progress in alphabetical order). Then we can play the note one half-step up from E♯, which is F♯. Next we’ll play the note one whole step up from F♯, which is G♯.
We can continue following the pattern of half-steps and whole steps until we reach the next D♯ and the scale is complete.
What Are the Notes for a D Sharp Natural Minor Scale?
Here are the notes for a D sharp natural minor scale:
D♯ – E♯ – F♯ – G♯ – A♯ – B – C♯ – D♯
Labeling the Notes of the Scale
You may be curious why the E♯ is called an E♯ and not an F, or why the F♯ is called F♯ and not a G♭ (sharps indicate the note one half-step up, and flats indicate the note one half-step down).
The reason is because the notes of a scale must progress in alphabetical order. Since this is a D sharp minor scale, the next note will be some sort of E, the next note some sort of F, the next note some sort of G, and so on.
Some scales use the same notes on the piano to build their scales, but go by two different names. These are called “enharmonic scales”. There are three sets of enharmonic major scales on the piano:
B major and C♭ major
F♯ major and G♭ major
C♯ major and D♭ major
Since these major scales are enharmonic, their relative minor scales will also be enharmonic.
Here are the enharmonic minor scales:
G♯ minor and A♭ minor
D♯ minor and E♭ minor
A♯ minor and B♭ minor
Harmonic Minor Scales
Harmonic minor scales are similar to natural minor scales, except the seventh note has been raised 1/2 step.
The raised seventh note changes the music of these scales, making them a popular option.
How to Build a D Sharp Harmonic Minor Scale
To build a D sharp harmonic minor scale, we can start with a D sharp natural minor scale. Then we’ll raise the seventh note C♯ 1/2 step, to C♯♯ (“C double-sharp”).
The reason we’ll call this note “double-sharp” is because scale notes must progress in alphabetical order. Since the note before this was a B, the note that follows must be some sort of C.
What Are the Notes for a D Sharp Harmonic Minor Scale?
Here are the notes for a D sharp harmonic minor scale:
D♯ – E♯ – F♯ – G♯ – A♯ – B – C♯♯ – D♯
Melodic Minor Scales
Melodic minor scales aren’t as popular as the other types, since they raise the sixth and seventh notes 1/2 step ascending (going up), and play the natural minor scale descending (going down).
Other Minor Scales
Here are all the minor scales:
A minor scale
E minor scale
B minor scale
F♯ minor scale
C♯ minor scale
G♯ minor scale
D♯ minor scale
A♯ minor scale
D minor scale
G minor scale
C minor scale
F minor scale
B♭ minor scale
E♭ minor scale
A♭ minor scale
Now you know how to build both D sharp natural minor and D sharp harmonic minor scales on the piano! You can use these patterns to build other types of minor scales.
Minor keys are enjoyable to use when playing creatively at the piano, since they work well for playing introspective and more somber melodies.