|Relative key||B minor|
|Parallel key||D minor|
|Notes in this scale|
|D, E, F♯, G, A, B, C♯, D|
Because of this, many classical composers chose to write violin concertos in D major. Examples include Mozart's (No. 2, 1775, No. 4, 1775); Ludwig van Beethoven's (1806); Paganini's (No. 1, 1817); Brahms's (1878); Tchaikovsky's (1878); Prokofiev's (No. 1, 1917); Stravinsky's (1931); and Korngold's (1945).
For some beginning wind instrument students, however, D major is not a very good key, because it transposes to E major for B flat instruments. E major has four sharps, which is harder for new learners to play.
Still, the clarinet in B-flat is often used for music in D major. It is probably the key with the most sharps that it can play well. However, when some composers write a piece in D minor with B-flat clarinets, they change to clarinets in A if the music changes to D major.
In the Baroque period, D major was seen as "the key of glory"; so many trumpet pieces were in D major. Examples include concertos by Fasch, Gross, Molter (No. 2), Leopold Mozart, Telemann (No. 2), and Giuseppe Torelli; sonatas by Corelli, Franceschini, Purcell, Torelli; and "The Trumpet Shall Sound" and the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah.
23 of Haydn's 104 symphonies are in D major, making it the most often used main key of his symphonies. A great number of Mozart's unnumbered symphonies are in D major, namely K. 66c, 81/73, 97/73m, 95/73n, 120/111a and 161/163/141a. The symphony came from the overture, and "D major was by far the most common key for overtures in the second half of the eighteenth century."
- Rita Steblin: A History of Key Characteristics in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Rochester, University of Rochester Press: 1996) p. 124 "The key of triumph, of Hallelujahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing."
- Rice, John (1998). Antonio Salieri & Viennese Opera. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 124.