• Chord Analysis: The Db Major Chord

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    In this lesson, we’ll be analyzing the Db major chord.

    The Db major chord was featured as the Chord of the Day on our Facebook page:

    It’s a very simple and recognizable chord; so I know that almost everyone would get this.

    Check out some of the answers:









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    I almost changed my mind about this chord analysis because I know a lot of you know so much about the Db major chord and can effortlessly apply it. But I remembered that there are people like me — who are never tired of learning and are the reason why I’m on this blog.

    I’m talking about people who would want to know why it’s called the Db major chord, where it’s derived from, its class of harmony, its inversion, and other chords that it can form over a different bass note.

    If you belong to the league of musicians that I’m talking about, then this lesson is for you and we’ll be starting out with the analysis of the Chord of the Day.

    The Chord Of The Day — Analyzed

    It’s NOT enough to know that the Chord of the Day is the Db major triad and that’s why we’re using this analysis to go beyond the superficial knowledge of the chord and the notes it’s made up of.

    There are four aspects of the Db major chord:

    …that we’d be analyzing in this lesson and the first one is the name. So, if you want to know why it’s called the Db major chord, then you have to give me your undivided attention.

    Its Name

    Let’s talk about it: why is it called the Db major chord?

    The Chord of the Day is associated with Db because the Db note:

    …is the root of the chord.

    Although there are three unique notes in chord (Db, F, Ab):

    …the root of the chord is the Db note and that’s why the name of the chord is derived from the name of the root note.

    If you want to go by what the lowest-sounding note in the Chord of the Day is:

    …you’ll be mislead to think that F:

    …is the root note.

    So, Db is the root note of the Chord of the Day and although it’s not the lowest-sounding note, there’s a reason for that and we’ll talk about that shortly.

    “Now, We Know Why It’s Associated With Db, Why Is It A Major Chord?”

    The Db major chord:

    …is considered to be a major chord (in the first place) because of the distance (aka – “interval”) between the root note (which is Db) and the third tone (which is F):

    The interval between Db and F is a major third interval and all chords that have a major third interval between the root note and third tone are generally classified as major chords.

    So, the major quality of the Chord of the Day:

    …is derived from the major third interval between its root note and third tone.

    Altogether, we know it’s a Db major chord because its root is Db and its quality is major because of the major third interval between Db and F (which are the root and third tone respectively.)

    Its Scale Source

    The Db major chord is derived from an underlying scale.

    The underlying scale is the scale that creates a relationship between the notes of a chord. So, the underlying scale of the Db major chord:

    …is the scale that has all the tones (Db, F, and Ab) in it.

    The Db major scale:

    …is the underlying scale and once you isolate the first, third, and fifth tones of the Db major scale, that’s the Db major chord.

    It’s not rocket science! It’s that easy!

    Its Class Of Harmony

    The distance between the successive tones of the Db major chord:

    …are third intervals. From Db to F:

    …is a third interval and we specifically called it a major third interval. Then from F to Ab:

    …is also another third interval — the minor third interval.

    The formation of chords in third intervals produces what music scholars call tertian harmony (which is simply harmony in third intervals.)

    So, the Db major chord is a tertian chord.

    Its Inversion

    Let’s take another look at the chord of the day:

    Although it’s the Db major chord:

    …the lowest-sounding note is not the Db note. We have the F note:

    …as the lowest-sounding note.

    Knowing fully well that the Db major chord has three chord tones: Db, F, and Ab, it’s possible to have any of the chord tones as the lowest-sounding note per time.

    You can play the Db major chord with Db as the lowest-sounding note (aka – “bass note”):

    …and other times, you can just decided to play it with Ab as the lowest-sounding note (aka – “bass note”):

    You can also have F, just like we have in the Chord of the Day, as the lowest-sounding note (aka – “bass note”):

    All these varieties of bass notes creates inversions and in the case of the Db major chord with F on the bass:

    …it’s called the first inversion of the Db major chord.

    So, instead of thinking that it’s an F chord because F is the bass note, we know it’s actually a Db major chord that is inverted or we can say “its’ a Db major chord with F on the bass” or better still, we can say “it’s the first inversion of the Db major chord.”

    “What Other Bass Notes Can Go With This Chord?”

    It’s possible to play the Db major ninth chord over other bass notes and for today, we’ll just cover these three bass notes:

    The Bb bass note

    The Eb bass note

    The Gb bass note

    Let’s cover that quickly!

    “Over Bb…”

    The Db major chord:

    …can be played over the Bb bass note:

    …and this produces an overall Bb minor seventh chord:

    Here’s how to apply the Bb minor seventh chord:

    The 2-chord in the key of Ab major:

    The 3-chord in the key of Gb major:

    The 6-chord in the key of Db major:

    “Over Eb…”

    Playing the Db chord:

    …over the Eb bass note (on the left hand):

    …produces the Eb9[sus4] chord:

    The Eb9[sus4] chord can function as:

    The 5-chord in the key of Ab major:

    The 6-chord in the key of Gb major:

    “Over Gb…”

    You can also play the Db major chord:

    …over the Gb note on bass:

    …and that implies the Gb major ninth chord:

    Attention: It is an implied major ninth chord because the third tone of the chord is omitted.  In a subsequent analysis, we’ll go deeper into learning about the upper structure functions of the Db major triad and the chords that it implies.

    Final Words

    I’m sure you’ve learned a couple of things in today’s chord analysis.

    Special appreciation goes to our founder, Jermaine Griggs (who is also my role-model) for the opportunity to share with you today on the Db major chord.

    Questions, suggestions, and contributions are anticipated and I’ll keep an eye in the comment section.

    See you tomorrow!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.


    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 3 Little Heroes

    I will carefully read the issues you just shared, I find there are some places that are not very clear


    2 Assignment writing UK

    A chord, in music, is any consonant arrangement of pitches comprising of various notes that are heard as though sounding at the same time. For some commonsense and hypothetical purposes, arpeggios and broken chords, or successions of harmony tones, may likewise be considered as chords.


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