I am preparing "Whirling Dervishes" for my Trinity Grade 1 Keyboard exam. In that piece D7 chord is present. As I figured out online, it's D-F#-A-C. Which of the following 2 pictures shows the correct position of D7 chord.

Picture 1:

Picture 1

Picture 2:

Picture 2

Keyboard layout:

Keyboard layout

Sheet Music:

Sheet music

  • 3
    They are both correct, containing D, F#, A, C. The second picture simply shows the chord played an octave higher than the first, but you can play a D7 chord in any octave. Is this exam not based on sheet music that will show you exactly the notes to play? Feb 24, 2019 at 20:22
  • @topomorto added sheet music and keyboard layout. Can you please answer?
    – simplfuzz
    Feb 24, 2019 at 20:32
  • 1
    That sheet music only shows the melody line, and does not show a chord part. If you weren't doing this for an exam, I would say "play whatever sounds good" - but as you are doing this for an exam, you need to find out what's specified in the exam syllabus. trinityrock.com/instruments/keyboards/grade1 states that some of the songs are supposed to be played to a backing track. Is that the exam you are doing? Perhaps those chords simply indicate what's being played on the backing track, so perhaps you aren't supposed to play them at all..? Feb 24, 2019 at 20:33

4 Answers 4


Unfortunately, this question is impossible to answer without the sheet music (not to mention the layout of your entire keyboard).

The two D7 chords that you show are both perfectly legitimate, so really it's up to the composer/arranger of the work to decide which of those D7 chords is actually intended.

As you work to figure this out, consider relating the D7 chord to Middle C. Middle C is the C written on the first ledger line above the bass clef, and it's equivalent to the first ledger line below the tremble clef. Find Middle C on your keyboard, and then use that as a reference point to identify which D7 chord your sheet music is showing.

  • Hi @Richard, added sheet music and keyboard layout. Can you please answer?
    – simplfuzz
    Feb 24, 2019 at 20:32

Are you using the auto-accompaniment feature of the keyboard, where you hold down a chord and it creates a rhythmic backing? If so, both positions are correct, and will trigger the same accompaniment, IF they both fall below the split point where the melody sound starts. I suspect the higher position may JUST fit under this point! It's safer to make a habit of choosing the lowest practical position.


Assuming that you should be playing that chord at all (doesn't the backing track have it?), it's entirely up to you and your sense of musicality not only in what octave you play it, but also in what inversion, and whether you want to play it as an arpeggio - and then what arpeggio, because it doesn't just have to be D-F#-A-C in that order. You could play it, for example, as (1/4)D-F#-A-C, or (1/4)D-F#-(1/8)A-C-D-F#, or (1/4)D-F#-(1/8)-A-C-A-C etc. Whatever sounds good and doesn't detract from the melody should work.

Remember that this is music, and you'll be judged by musicians: a reasonable, musically appropriate creative effort goes some way towards demonstrating your ability. Whatever own interpretative element you apply must be musically sound, i.e. must harmonize with the melody without overwhelming it, be separated from the melody appropriately, etc. You should be able to write some ideas down and play them for your teacher and ask for feedback!


Either of these will work.


The red square is on Middle C. The orange is the lowest part of that melody thing that's in the sheet music, so you'll probably want our chord to be lower than the melody. The green represents the higher root position D7 available, the blue represents the lower. You could also play a combination of the green and blue keys for an inversion of D7.

With no specified voicings, the only guideline I could give you would be to keep the melody above the chords.

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