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Transposing Keys

by Jace_Guitar

30 Dec 2008
Views: 16331

Transposing keys is something that alot of people find complicated but, broken down, is actually a very simple task. Assuming you know that every key has 7 notes in it let's begin.

Beginner; This way isn't neccesarily the most practical, but it gets the job done.

Let's first take something in C and transpose it to E.
Our chord progression shall be thus: C F Am G.

We know that E is exactly 2 whole steps higher than C.

Using this knowledge, we just take every one of our chords up 2 whole steps.
C turns into E.
F turns into A.
Am turns into C#m.
G turns into B.

Keeps all of the inversions such as; m7, 6add9, M, etc...., when you transpose.

Advanced; This requires a bit more thinking, but eventually it can be used to actually transpose songs on the go, or while playing them.

Let's first take something in C and transpose it to E.
Our chord progression shall be thus: C F Am G.

As I said before every key has 7 notes, and the Nashville Numbers System, every one of those notes is the root of a chord.

Since there are 7 notes, everyone corresponds to a chord.
1 = Major
2 = Minor
3 = Minor
4 = Major
5 = Major
6 = Minor
7 = Diminished

So basically we just take our notes in the scale and play those inversions. C for example;
1 = C major
2 = D minor
3 = E minor
4 = F major
5 = G major
6 = A minor
7 = B diminished

With this basic information we should now be able to tackle transposing.

Our chord progression was: C F Am G. This means that we are playing the first, fourth, sixth, and fifth chords. Keeping inversions we just take out the notes in the key of C and replace them with notes in the key of E.

C major consists of the notes: C D E F G A B
E major consists of the notes: E F# G# A B C# D#

If you keep the notes in order it is easy to transpose them like this.
1. C major = E major
4. F major = A major
6. A mino
r = C# minor
5. G major = B major

Hope this helps. If anyone has any questions just shoot me a pm.


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