For Music Therapy Students and Pro: About Transposition by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes.

Major KEY
How to tell
I
ii
iii
IV
V/V7
Vi
C
no #, b
C
Dm
Em
F
G
Am
D
2 #
D
Em
F#m
G
A
Bm
E
4 #
E
F#m
G#m
A
B7
C#m
F
1 b
F
G#m
Am
Bb
C
Dm
G
1 #
G
Am
Bm
C
D
Em
A
3 #
A
Bm
C#m
D
E
F#m
Minor Key
Am
none
Am
B
 C
Dm
E
C
Bm
2 #
Bm
C#
 D
Em
F#
D
Dm
1 b
Dm
E
 F
Gm
A
F
Em
1 #
Em
F
 G
Am
B7
G

On Transposing: (for “non-musicians”)

I transpose a song when the key it is in is too high or low for my purposes – most often too high or low for me or my class to sing along. How do you know what key a song is in? There are at least two ways. Most often the first and last chords in a song are the same as the “key.”  You can check this by observing what the most frequently used chord is. This works best for the vast majority of songs.  Included in this chart is a column called “how to tell.” You can often identify by counting the numbers of sharps (#) or flats (b) at the very beginning of the song.  Of course, you can always use a  guitar capo to raise the sound of your music.

 

HOW TO USE THIS CHART:

Simple. It’s like algebra. Ok- it’s like balancing gold on a scale. If you want the song to balance out even, just add the same thing to each side of the scale. So to go from the key of C to the key of E, just be consistent and add the same amount of half-steps to each side. OR use this chart. Change all the Cs to Es, all the Fs to As, and all the Gs to Bs or B7s (because B7 is much nicer.)  Change from one to the other, but be consistent.  That’s all there is to it. To go from Am to Em, change all the Ams to Ems, all the E’s to B7s etc.

See, not hard…just keep the balance consistent.  Notice that the I, IV, and V chords are in bold. That’s because these chords are very good friends and tend to travel through songs together as a group.

Another reason to transpose is that the chords are too tricky or uncomfortable for you to play.  You don’t see many guitar songs written in crazy keys like B, G# or Db.  Here are some more common transpositions: Again, play a song in the way that suits your particular needs or those of your group.  Not so hard, really.

BY Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes

 

from to optional capo fret
Bb A , C 1 to make A sound like Bb
F E, G 1 to make E sound like F
Gm Em 2 …
Fm Em 1…
Cm Am 2
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