I'm working on a chord grid. Here is an image of what I put together for the minor scale.

I'm just finishing labeling the major scale grid and struck a problem. I tried to Google the D# scale to ensure the keys in the vertical list are correct and couldn't find one. I only found it listed as the E flat major scale.

If I use E♭ major then it messes up the horizontal row for the C scale. This is what my grid should look like. I've only used C, D and E for examples sake:

E  F   F# G   G#  A  A#  B  C   C# D   D#
D  D#  E  F   F#  G  G#  A  A#  B  C   C#
C  C#  D  D#  E   F  F#  G  G#  A  A#  B

If I use E♭ in the D♯ column I have to change to to E♭. This then looks strange because the C row will be C, C♯, D, B♭ ...

Is there a D♯ major scale or any other way to write this?


There is a D♯ major scale, it's just rather rare you'll have anything written in that key. In this key you have no natural notes and all notes are either sharps or double sharps which is the same with any sharp key besides F♯ and C♯. Whatever that graphic is and whatever it is suppose to accomplish, you won't be able to make the scales in your figure without using double sharps and that will screw up the rest of it.

The key signature itself would consist of 5 sharps (D♯, E♯, G♯, A♯, G♯) and 2 double sharps (C𝄪 and F𝄪). If you wanted to compose in this key in Equal temperament where there is no difference in between sharp and flat notes, it makes much more sense to call it E♭ which only has three flats which are B♭, E♭, and A♭.

  • 4
    There is no reason why a piece shouldn't modulate into D# major, without changing the key signature. In fact Bach illustrated that principle in book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier, where the prelude in E flat minor contains some chords of F flat major, and the fugue in D sharp minor contains some chords of E sharp major. Respelling the F flat chords as E natural, and the E sharps as F natural, doesn't actually make the music easier to read.
    – user19146
    Oct 17 '16 at 22:07
  • 9
    I'm aghast to discover my font doesn't support the double-sharp glyph :( Oct 17 '16 at 22:26
  • Interestingly, Wikipedia has an article for G♯ major — including an unsourced statement that at least one piece (Foulds's A World Requiem) contains a section that uses a key signature with six sharps and one double sharp (F𝄪). Oct 20 '16 at 13:09
  • Infamously, part of Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 ("Heroic") is written in D Sharp Major, at least in some editions. Check out the 7th page of the Schirmer edition in ks.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/9/90/… and the 5th page of the Peters edition in ks.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/5/5b/…!
    – Dekkadeci
    Jun 22 '17 at 18:30
  • Why is this rare? Is it only because our system makes it hard to write it? Or is there an actual weirdness in the sound?
    – Alvaro
    Dec 11 '18 at 1:17

There is a D# major scale. However, the D# major scale has 9 sharps (including E#, B#, F## and C##) which makes it very hard to read. The enharmonic equivalent (Eb major) only has 3 flats (Bb Eb Ab) and is much better and preferable.

Ask yourself this question:

Would you rather play a piece containing the notes:

D# E# F## G# A# B# C## D# or Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb?


Instances of D# Major in a song are going to be rare. Then again, I think studying this can be helpful for processing enharmonic notes with different names (i.e. E# seeing "E#" instead of "F" - as you'll get in the D# major scale). But of course, you will more commonly see Eb Major (Eb F G Ab Bb C D) which is the enharmonic equivalent to D# Major.

  • Why are they rare? Is there any reason for it besides that we've made it's notation harder?
    – Alvaro
    Dec 11 '18 at 1:12

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