Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How to transpose a song in any key ?

Transposing a piece of music means (it can be chord progression or melody) playing it in any key that is different to the one in which it is written or the one in which you originally learned it. There are two reasons why you might want to transpose a chord sequence. First you may want to sing along with it but find that it is too low or too high for your voice. Second, you may want to use chord shapes or add melody notes which are difficult to play if the music remains in its original key. Transposing the chord progression to an appropriate new key can help to solve both these problems.

Before we learn to start transpose a song let’s first learn the Roman numeral system by which you can identify each chord in a key by a Roman numeral. The 1st chord is (I) the 2nd chord is (II) third chord is (III) fourth chord is (IV) fifth chord is (V) sixth chord is (VI) and the seventh chord is (VII). You can give the chord its position name by above given numbers or you can use simply 1,2,3,4 whatever you like. Each chord also has a name according to its position in the scale and its Roman numeral as given below:-

I -          Tonic or root
II -         Supertonic
III -        Mediant
IV -        Sub-dominant
V -         Dominant
VI -        Sub-median or relative minor
VII -       Seventh or leading note
The secret to understanding the Roman numeral system is realizing that the sequence of sounds is the same, whatever key it is played in. The relationships between the individual chords described by the sequence of numbers remain intact and will sound the same in all twelve keys only the actual pitches change.  Let's see an example of how we can transpose the C scale (chords) to G scale.
The first thing to do is to code the chords by changing them to a series of Roman numerals. The notes of the C scale are C D E F G A B C & if we give Roman numerals to them then the C scale will look like below:-
Scale:-                        C    D    E    F     G      A       B
Roman Numerals:-  I     II    III    IV   V     VI     VII
Tip:- you can give numbers instead of Roman numerals like 1,2,3,4, these numbers are just to remember the note position in any scale.
and if the original chord progression (it may be any progression) is like C Am Dm G F Dm G7 C then the Roman numeral numbers of the same will be as below:-
Chord Progression:       C       Am       Dm       G       F       Dm       G7       C
Roman Numerals:         I       VIm       IIm       V       IV       IIm       V7       I
Tip:- take a look at the scale and Roman numerals, they are used to give numbers to the above chord progression.
Now you have the Numeral numbers of the above chord progression, what you will do next is, just find the notes of the G scale give it Roman numerals and put its notes according to the above chord progression. Let's see the notes of G scale & its numeral positions:-
G    A    B    C    D     E      F#
I     II    III    IV    V    VI    VII
Now you have the Roman numerals of G Scale, look at the chord progression and its Roman numerals you just need to use that numerals to transpose the C chord progression into G chord progression. The Roman numerals of C chord progression are I  VIm  IIm V  IV  IIm  V7  and I. Now take the same positioned chords from the G chord progression as given below:-
G       Em       Am       D       C       Am      D7      G
I         VIm      IIm      V       IV       IIm      V7       I
Congratulations you transpose the C chords in G chords. The thing to remember is, you need to remember the chord sequence of original scale & then apply the same to the desired scale.