Transposing (changing the key)

In music, transposing, means move notes or chords from one key to another. You could, for example, transpose from D major to G major or any other key. Notice the difference between a transposition and a key change: in the first case the whole song is transcribed to a fit another key and in the second case the key barely change in the song.

How to transpose

A transposition is done by changing all notes (or chords) a certain interval. If we want to go from C major to D major we change all related notes one whole step, which is the distance between C and D.

If we have the following chord progressions: C - F - Am - G -  F - C in C major and want to transpose it to the key of D major we have to change every chord with two semi-steps. The result will be this: D - G - Bm - A - G - D.

Reference

The following table can be used as a reference every time you have to change to another key. Instructions could be found below the table.

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

Db = C# | Eb = D# | Gb = F# | Ab = G# | Bb = A# (to reduce space in the table only one of these are written out)

The table is without doubt complicated and dense in information. Here are some instructions how to use it.

Change the tone E in the key of C to the key of Eb. In the second row and fifth column you find E in the key of C. Go to the fifth row and the fifth column and you find G.

Another example: change to tone C# in the key of A to the same tone in the key of F. In the third row from the bottom and sixth column you find C# in the key of A. Go to the seventh row and the sixth column and you find A.

Transposing chords

Concerning chords, the table doesn’t show major and minor. So if you want to transpose Dm in the key of C, you have to add minor by yourself.

Some examples of how minor chords changes between keys:

Am in the key of C = Em in the key of G
Dm in the key of C = F#m in the key of G
Bm in the key of G = Em in the key of C
Am in the key of C = Cm in the key of Eb
Am in the key of C = Cm in the key of Eb
C#m in the key of E = Gm in the key of Bb
Ebm in the key of Db = Bm in the key of A