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How To Transpose A Song - Chords


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How to Transpose a Song - Change the Key

In this case, we will transpose by intervals.

The best part about this is that it is a simple trick and once you know how to do the trick it is easy!

On your guitar, mandolin, banjo or any fretted instrument you can count the frets up or down.

Same for the keys on your piano. These are basic intervals

Example: If you have a song that starts with a G chord and you want to be able to sing it higher you might choose

to transpose it to the key of A. Here's how.

Consider the starting chord of the song as it is and looking at the chart you can see that the interval distance from

G to A is 2 half steps up.   The distance from G to C is 5 semitones of half steps (up) as they are called.

This is simpler but different approach than transposing by scales. Same result.

So each chord in the song must change by the same amount.

Note: The note C# is the same note or chord as Db, therefore, it's in the same box below.

Therefore, C# is Db and so it goes that D# is the same tone or chord as Eb etc. you get the idea.

A (#note) or sharp note is one half step or one fret or one piano key higher. A (b note) or flat is one step lower.

E to F as well as B to C has no flat or sharp between them.

Now as you change or transpose each chord remember that if it is a major or minor or diminished etc.,

It will still be thus.

C C# - Db D D# - Eb E F F# - Gb G G# - Ab A A# - Bb B C

So by example you can see that a song with the chords

G - Em - C - D   is relatively same as C - Am - F - G  but in the key of C rather that the key of G

A- -D - E7  is relatively the same as  G - C - D7 or C - F - G7 or  E - A - B7 or F# - B - C#7

Have fun with this simple math trick and soon you will be able to do a transposition on the fly.

The author of this website has put a lot of time and effort into gathering the greatest collection of sea shanties for the world to enjoy - There are songs that have been to sung to a job of work at sea for many, many years and collecting them has been a great endeavour. - Roger Chartier has made the effort out of his own interest and the requests that he has gotten to do this work from fellow musicians who wanted a good source of sea shanties to draw on and learn from. He has been told that for this effort he is a remarkable man.