Transposing Music


4 Steps to Learning How to Play Any Song on the Piano

1. Determining the melody - Melodies determine what chords will be played. If you can use your ear to figure out what notes are being played in the melody, you are 1/4 on your way to learning a song! More resources on learning how to determine melodies

2.Harmonizing the melody - Once you have figured out the melody (using some of my techniques on the resource page), it is time to harmonize it. This is simply choosing various chords to accompany the melody. There are several techniques and tricks to doing this. More resources on learning how to harmonize melodies

3. Altering Chords - This is the best part! Now that you have strategically figured out the melody to a song and have harmonized it, altering your chords to produce certain sounds is the next step. If you were playing gospel music, you would alter your chords differently than if you were playing classical or country music. More resources on altering chords

4. Listening - After you have determined the melody, harmonized the melody, and altered some of your chords, there are various techniques you can use to make sure that your song sounds right. More resources on listening techniques

I personally recommend "The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" 300-pg Course and through my relationship with Jermaine (the author of this course), I've been able to get him to throw in a few bonus items (3 additional piano software programs). He has taught literally thousands of musicians how to play the piano by ear. If you understood just half of what he discussed above, you'll definitely benefit from his 300-pg course. Click here to learn the secrets to playing absolutely any song on the piano in virtually minutes! I highly recommend it.

The All-New Song Tutor: Internet-Powered Song Learning Software

This free piano lesson on transposing music will give you all you need to know to take any song you are now playing and play it in another key.

This is an important skill to know especially if you are playing keyboards in some kind of band or if you are going to provide accompaniment for a vocalist who may need to sing a song in a different key

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In music transposition refers to the process, or operation, of moving a collection of notes  up or down in pitch by a constant interval.

The main reason that you might have for dong this it to accompany yourself or others when a particular song is in a difficult key to sing, either too high or too low.

For the most part if you are an aspiring ear player you will be looking to find what chords you should be playing in the new key.

The process of transposing music for this reason is not at all that difficult but as with everything it will take a little knowledge and practice.


To learn this skill you are going to know a bit about the major scales and a little bit about musical intervals which is a term to describe the distance between two notes.

So lets start simple.

Lets say you have a simple three chord song in the key of C such as "Silent Night" or "How Great Thou Art", using the chords C maj, F maj, and G maj.

Let say now that you or your vocalist wants you to transpose the song and play it in the key of G.

Since C maj is the first chord of the song in the key of C then quite logically G maj will be the first chord in the key of G.

The F maj chord in the key of C is built on the 4th note of the C major scale so to find the corresponding chord in the key of G you would count 4 notes up the G major scale and arrive at C.

So all the F chords in the key of C will be C chords in the key of G. Not so hard right?

Finally since the G maj chord is built on the 5th note of the C scale in the key of C then in the key of G you will play the major chord built on the 5th note of the G major scale which would be C maj.

The Number System makes things easy.

While attending music school I learned perhaps the best and easiest way to transpose chords and chord progressions and that was the number system.

In the example we just discussed we used two songs that use in the number system a I-IV-I-V-I progression or at least the I-IV and V chords from two different keys, the key of C and the key of G. (yes we use roman numerals for the chords).

These three chords played in various different orders or progressions make up hundreds of songs already and yet to be written.

In the example below the diatonic chords in the key of C and G are given roman numerals to indicate what note of the major scale that they start on.

So instead of using the letter names of the chords I would say to you that the song Silent Night uses the I, IV and V chords in the key of C or G or Eb etc.

The order and the function (maj, min, dim) stay the same. Only the letter names are different.

I hope this video will help you see how this concept of transposing music is applied to the keyboard.

Best Home Study for "Ear Players"

After checking out dozens of home study courses that teach you to play by ear and focus on chord progressions I am convinced that the folks at Hear and Play have the best, most well rounded program available for just about all styles of music from Gospel to Jazz. Read my review or visit Hear and Play for more information.

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