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Chord Transposer

Created by Rijk de Wet
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


Our chord transposer is here to help you transpose your harmonies! Whether you're transposing from one key to another or moving up or down an interval, the chord transposer has you covered. Read on, and you'll learn:

  • How to use our chord transposer;
  • How to transpose chords to a different key; and
  • Some sneaky pitfalls of chord transposition.

🔎 Want to transpose individual notes or an highly complex chord not covered by our chord transposer? Try our music transposition calculator instead!

How to use the chord transposer

The chord transposer is a powerful tool that moves your chord from root to root with ease! Here's how to use it:

  1. Select your chord — its root and its form. You'll be shown what notes are in the chord below these fields.

  2. Select your transposition method as either "by interval/semitones" or "by key".

    • To transpose by an interval or by a number of semitones, specify either of them and the direction in which we're transposing.

    • To transpose by key, specify the original key and the key to which we're transposing.

  3. Regardless of the method, the transposed chord will be displayed at the bottom.

🔎 Not sure what chord you're trying to transpose? Use our chord finder to give you the exact name of your chord.

The chord transposer can do it all for you, but you may want to know how to transpose chords to a different key all on your own. Let's see how it's done!

How to transpose chords

To transpose a chord, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the number of semitones and the transposition direction (up or down).
  2. Move the root note the correct number of semitones in the correct direction.
  3. Rebuild the chord — write the remaining notes using the intervals that the chord consists of, or transpose each note directly with the same process as the root.

Determining the number of semitones and the direction is the most involved step and depends on our reason for transposing the chord.

  • We might transpose by key when we rewrite sheet music for an instrument, not in concert pitch (like a saxophone or clarinet).
  • We might transpose by an interval if our composition exceeds an instrument's range by a certain interval or when we move our composition's melody to a comfortable range for the soloist.

Luckily, all these choices can be simplified to two pieces of information: how many semitones and which direction.

  • For transposition by key, this is simply the number of semitones between the two keys' root notes (e.g., C major to G major is seven semitones up, or equivalently, five semitones down).
  • For transposition by interval, we can do the same thing — convert it to a number of semitones and retain the direction (e.g., a perfect fourth up is five semitones up).

Once we know the number of semitones and the direction, we apply it to the chord's root. Then we rebuild the rest of the chord using the chord's intervals from the root or by transposing the notes one-by-one just as we've done with the root.

💡 Remember that a chord's root is not the same as the root of the key in which the chord exists! For example, the chord of F minor (with the root of F) can exist in the key of D♭ major (with the root of D♭).

Let's look at an example using these steps: suppose we want to transpose the chord of D minor (D-F-A) from the key of C major to the key of A major.

  1. The number of semitones is three if we transpose the shorter distance, i.e., down (if not, then it's nine semitones up).

  2. The root of the chord (D) transposed three semitones down is B.

  3. Rebuild the chord:

    • By the chord's intervals: The minor chord consists of a minor third from the root and a perfect fifth from the root, so our chord is B-D-F♯.

    • By transposing each note: F down three semitones is D, and A down three semitones is F♯, so our chord is B-D-F♯.

And now you know how to transpose chords to a different key or with intervals. Now get out there and jam!

🔎 Need a refresher on intervals? Try our music interval calculator!

A note on enharmonics and scales

An enharmonic is a note that is functionally identical to another note, but has a different name. It's the musical equivalent of a synonym. Easy examples of enharmonic pairs are F♯ and G♭ or E♯ and F. They are the same note on the piano, they have the same pitch — but they are decidedly different notes when it comes to scales and chords.

For example: C♯ and D♭ are enharmonic, but an A major chord is written A-C♯-E and not A-D♭-E. The note D♭ does not even appear in the A major scale, even though its enharmonic C♯ does. In the same vein, the chord of C♯ minor (C♯-E-G♯) appears in the key of A major, but the chord of D♭ minor (D♭-F♭-A♭) does not.

For this reason, we have to be very careful when we transpose chords and choose the correct enharmonics. If we know we're transposing the G♯ minor chord from the key of E major to the key of A major, then we have to work intelligently and select C♯ as our chord's new root, and not D♭.

🔎 Need a refresher on your scales? Take a look at our music scale calculator!

FAQ

What is F major transposed two semitones up?

F major (F-A-C) transposed up two semitones is G major (G-B-D). Each note has moved up two semitones, but you could also have moved only the root (F to G) and rebuilt the rest of the chord with the major third and perfect fifth that all major chords consist of.

What is C minor transposed from the key of E flat major to the key of B flat major?

C minor (C-E♭-G) transposed from the key of E flat major to the key of B flat major is G minor (G-B♭-D). E flat to B flat is a perfect fifth (seven semitones) up or a perfect fourth (five semitones) down. Each note in the chord can be moved by this interval to obtain G minor.

What is G7 transposed from the key of C to the key of D?

G7 (G-B-D-F) transposed from C to D is A7 (A-C♯-E-G). D is two semitones above C, so we transpose the whole chord of G7 two semitones upwards to obtain A7.

Rijk de Wet
Root
C
Chord form
Major (maj)
C major (Cmaj) has notes C, E, and G. Let's transpose it!
Transpose by
Interval / semitones
Interval
Perfect unison
Semitones
Transpose up or down?
Up
The transposed chord is C major (Cmaj), which has notes C, E, and G.
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