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D Chord Piano

The D chord is made up of three notes – D, F# and A.

You can play the D chord on piano in three different ways:

  • Root Position – This is where the D note is the lowest note of the chord
  • First Inversion – This is where the D note is the highest note of the chord
  • Second Inversion – This is where the D note is the middle note of the chord

First I’ll quickly explain that in some more detail.

And then we’ll take a look (and listen) at some famous songs which use the D chord. These are fun. They sound good. And can really help you learn to play D chords with a lot of confidence.

D Chord Piano – Root Position

Whenever you play a D chord on piano, and D is the lowest note, that’s known as root position. It looks like this:

Piano keyboard with a D chord highlighted in root position
D Chord Piano – Root Position

There are seven places on a standard piano where you can play a D chord in root position. Can you find them all?

Below you’ll see what all seven look like on sheet music. Click the play button to hear what they sound like too.

Sheet music showing all seven D chords in root position from low to high

Probably not the best chord progression you’ve ever heard. But don’t worry… the good stuff is coming… just a little further below (right after we cover the basics).

D Chord Piano – First Inversion

Whenever you play a D chord on piano, and D is the highest note, that’s known as the first inversion. Here’s what it looks like:

Piano keyboard with a D chord highlighted in first inversion
D Chord Piano – First Inversion

And here is the first inversion played in all positions on a standard piano:

Sheet music showing all six D chords in first inversion from low to high

D Chord Piano – Second Inversion

Whenever you play a D chord on piano, and D is the note in the middle, that’s known as the second inversion. Here’s what the second inversion looks like:

Piano keyboard with a D chord highlighted in second inversion
D Chord Piano – Second Inversion

And here is the second inversion played in all positions on a standard piano:

Sheet music showing all seven D chords in second inversion from low to high

Famous “D Chord” Songs

Okay, you’ve made it to the fun part of this post. The part where you get to hear some D chords in actual song snippets. I hope you like the song choices…

The songs below all use D chords in their chord progressions. They’re fairly simple piano arrangements so that you can focus on learning the chords and chord changes.

First, have a go playing them as written. But once you get comfortable with that, feel free to try different D chord inversions.

Then, once you get comfortable with the inversions, try playing the chords in different positions on the piano.

And if you really want to test yourself:

Try playing the melody lower on the piano, with your left hand. And the chords higher on the piano with your right hand.

The first song we’ll take a look at is Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran. This song uses the D chord in root position.

D Chord Piano Example 1 – Thinking Out Loud

A snippet of sheet music from the song Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

The next song is I’d Do Anything For Love by Meatloaf. This song uses the D chord in first inversion.

D Chord Piano Example 2 – I’d Do Anything For Love

A snippet of sheet music from the song I'd Do Anything For Love by Meatloaf

Finally, let’s take a look at Umbrella by Rihanna. This arrangement uses the D chord in second inversion.

Once you get the hang of these progressions, don’t forget to practice playing the chords in different positions and different inversions.

D Chord Piano Example 3 – Umbrella

A snippet of sheet music from the song Umbrella by Rihanna

That’s all for this post. I really hope you enjoyed it and learnt something new about D chords.