How to Transpose

Stuff you didn't think you needed to know until now

and still wondering if it's worth the effort.

Why transpose and what does it mean?

In musical terms, you transpose from one key to another. You could just call it changing the key!

But, why would you want to change the key of a song?

There are a few reasons. One key may suit your voice better than another. Some keys may seem to have more difficult chords to play. Other keys will sound more "bluesy" or "poppy". It's also a good way to practice different chord changes in a tune that you know.

We're going to take a look at the first line of "The Tide is High" page 17 in the HUGs Tuesday Supplement Songbook.

It's in the key of "C" and there are only 3 chords [C], [F] and [G7].

Let's change it to key of "A" and see if it suits our voice better.

Look at the chart below, and read along the "C" scale (first row) until you get to [F]. Follow this down to the "A" scale (second row from the bottom), so [F] becomes [D].

Read along the "C" scale again until you get to [G]. Follow this down to the "A" scale again and you get [E].

So: [C] becomes [A], [F] becomes [D] and [G7]* becomes [E7]*.

In "C": The [C] tide is high but I'm [F] holding [G7] on....

In "A": The [A] tide is high but I'm [D] holding [E7] on....

*Embellishments such as 7th, minor etc are kept.

Also see the two versions of Johnny B Goode in the HUGs Tuesday Supplement Songbook pages 19/20.

If it sounds right, it is right…