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?


4 Answers 4


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♯, B♯) 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, 2016 at 22:07
  • 11
    I'm aghast to discover my font doesn't support the double-sharp glyph :( Oct 17, 2016 at 22:26
  • 1
    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, 2017 at 18:30
  • 1
    @Alvaro Enharmonic Equivalence. D# is enharmonically equivalent to Eb. In equal temperament instruments, they are the exact same frequency so they'll sound exactly the same. There's no reason to go to double sharps when it's the same to most instruments as Eb. For the instruments where Eb and D# are different, it makes a slight difference, but most won't be able to differentiate
    – Dom
    Dec 11, 2018 at 3:12
  • 1
    @Dom E flat and D sharp are the same on every 12-tone keyboard, regardless of how it's tuned. If you have a split-key keyboard tuned in quarter-comma meantone, D sharp major will be horribly out of tune (because the G key is not split, so there's no F-double-sharp key). Everyone would be able to tell the difference. But nobody would even have thought about writing in D sharp major in those days.
    – phoog
    Apr 6 at 5:49

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, 2018 at 1:12

Because there already exist a Eb Major scale. The only two major scales with a sharp in the name being C sharp and F sharp major.

Remember the scale system aims to give a scale for every pitch in the octave and also give scales from zero to seven sharps and flats.

Because we have 7 flat keys and 7 sharp keys a C Major that is zero for both we have 15 keys but only 12 tones in an octave.

That means at 3 places we have one tone with two scales. (C# - Db, Cb - B and F# - Gb) D# Major is just simply not one of these places.

  • As other answers and comments have pointed out D# major is used, although very rarely. I've seen pieces that have modulated from C# to D#.
    – PiedPiper
    Apr 8 at 11:30

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