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TRANSPOSING KEYS


Often you will encounter a composition which has been written in a key which doesn't suit the guitar or just has too many sharps or flats in it for your liking. Guitarists are notorious for picking keys which are easy to play or which enable the guitarist to play using open chords.

Keys such as C D A G & E are the most common guitar keys. However, many songs will have been written in a key to suit a vocalist or other instrument.

The Transposing Chart below will enable you to quickly work out the chords from one key to another more suitable key.

How to use the Chart

Work out what key the song you want to change from is in. Look at the Key Signature and count how many sharps or flats (refer to the Key Signatures Table if you need help). The first or last chord of the song is usually a good indicator of the Key as well. eg if the first chord is F or FMaj7 its probably in the Key of F.

Now find the key chord in the far left column of the chart.The idea is to match the chords in the song with the alphabet letters in the row you have identified as the Key. If the chords in our song that we want to change from are : F Maj7 , Bb Maj7 and C7 and we want to change to the key of "A" just match the chords to the row starting with A. The F Maj7 will become A Maj7, the Bb Maj7 will become D Maj7 , and the C7 will become E7. Make sure that the TYPE (Major,Minor,7th etc.) of chord is retained and that only the alphabet letters change.



Transposing Chart

AA# or BbBCC# or DbDD# or EbEFF#GG#A
A# or BbBCC# or DbDD# or EbE FF# or GbGG# or AbAA# or Bb
BCC# or DbDD# or EbEFF# or GbGG# or AbAA# or BbB
CC# or DbDD# or EbEFF# or GbGG# or AbAA# or BbBC
C# or DbDD# or EbEFF# or GbGG# or AbAA# or BbBCC# or Db
DD# or EbEFF#GG#A A#BCC#D
D#EFF#GG#A A# or BbBCC#DD# or Eb
EFF# or GbGG# or AbAA# or BbBCC# or DbDD# or EbE
FF# or GbGG# or AbAA# or BbBCC# or Db DD# or EbEF
F# or GbGG# or AbAA# or BbBCC# or DbDD# or EbEFF# or Gb
GG# or AbAA# or BbBCC# or DbDD# or Eb EFF# or GbG
G# or AbAA# or BbBCC# or DbDD# or EbEFF# or Gb GG# or Ab
AA# or BbBCC# or DbDD# or EbEFF# or GbGG# or AbA


This example shows how chords in the key of "E" are transposed into the key of "C".

E F#min G#min A B7 C#min7 D# Diminished
C Dmin Emin F G7 Amin7 B Diminished