At times, the chord sheet of a song you get from the internet is not in a suitable pitch for you to sing comfortably. Learn the basics of transposing to change the chords to a pitch that suits you

When do we need to transpose?

Transposing to a few notes above

The chords could be given in C. Some parts of the song maybe lower in pitch than you can comfortably sing, when you start with C as the pitch. You may want to change the chords to D or E as the root / pitch.

Transposing to a few note below

For some of us, it is easier to sing and express minor songs better when the pitch is B, one below C. A song given in Dm or Cm is then to be transposed to Bm.

Transposing by larger intervals

Women may find C pitch too low for them. They maybe comfortable with an F# or G.

Similarly, men my find it difficult to sing a song in the pitch of G. Transpose the song to C or D in such situations.

How to transpose – Transposing from C to G

Counting from C to G

 

Example chord progression in C : C Am F G

Note sequence : C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C C # D D# E F F# ….

 

Count the notes from C to G, including C and G : C(1) C#(2) D(3)…. G(8)

We get a count of 8.

Writing the new chords

The first chord in the chord progression will be G. (Instead of C we write G wherever C appears.)

The second chord in the original progression is A.

To get the equivalent chord in the transposed progression:

  1. use the note sequence
  2. count till 8 starting from A, including A.

A(1) A#(2) B(3) C(4) C#(5)  D(6) D#(7) E(8) F F#

The equivalent chord for Am, in the new progression will be Em

Remember if the chord is a minor in the original progression, it will remain a minor in the new progression, only the note / root changes.

A becomes E, but minor stays.

The third chord in the original progression is F. Counting 8 from F, including F, gives C

The fourth chord in the original chord progression is G. Count till the 8th note, starting from G.

G(1) G# A A# B C C# D(8)

The fourth chord in the new progression is D

Transposed from C to G

The progression in C : C Am F G  when transposed to G is rewritten as: G Em C D

Transposed from C to D

The same progression transposed from C to D will become : D Bm G A

Next time you want to change the pitch, transpose the chords as you wish, by counting as mentioned in this article, and finding the new chords.

More music theory for beginner musicians.

Indian guitar, carnatic, rhythm and chords, finding chords, playing by ear etc(Click to see)
Free resources at musicianself.com/rlo