How To Transpose Chords By Hand

Since you may not always have access to a computer and Chord Transposer, it's useful to know how to transpose chords by hand. Here are some resources to get you started.

Instructions

  1. Determine the number of half steps between the original key and the desired key. For instance, if you were transposing from C to E, the difference would be 4 half steps.
  2. If the new key is higher than the old key, add the difference between the two keys to every chord in your song. If you were transposing from C to E, a G chord would become a B chord.
  3. If the new key is lower than the old key, subtract the difference between the two keys from every chord in your song. If you were transposing from E to C, a B chord would become a G chord.

Chord Transposition Chart

Alternatively, you may use the chord transposition chart below. Each row represents a key and its scale. For instance, the first row contains the notes for the key of C. First locate the rows for your song's original key and desired key. For each chord in your song, find the chord in the row corresponding with the original key, and note what column it is in. Then find the chord in that same column in the row corresponding with the new key. Replace the original chord with that chord.

Let's say you want to transpose a song from C to G, and your song contains an F chord. F is in column 4 of the C row. Trace down to the G row, and you'd find that the C chord is in column 4. You would then replace all F chords with C chords.

Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 C D E F G A B
2 C# D# E# F# G# A# C
3 D E F# G A B C#
4 Eb F G Ab Bb C D
5 E F# G# A B C# D#
6 F G A Bb C D E
7 F# G# A# B C# D# E#
8 G A B C D E F#
9 Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
10 A B C# D E F# G#
11 Bb C D Eb F G A
12 B C# D# E F# G# A#