Transposing Ukulele Music Into Different Keys

Transposition is the way music is either performed or written at pitches different than the way it was originally written, by lowering or raising all the notes by the exact same interval throughout the piece. 

 In order to transpose, use the table below to identify the Key you are in, and the Key you want to be in.

Don’t let the large mass of note spellings scare you, it’s really quite easy. Read the graph over and think about it.

First, know that a ROW is a single line of information that runs horizontally across the graph and a COLUMN is a vertical selection of data falling below each row. That said, let’s continue.

The top row, moving from left to right, is the key you are in.

If you are in column 1, you are in the key of C.
If you are in column 2, you are in the key of Db (or enharmonically, C#).
If you are in column 3, you are in the key of D.

In the columns under each row you will see the notes that Diatonically fall into each Key. (Diatonic means that a note “belongs” in a specific key, Bb is Diatonic to “F”, F# is Diatonic to the key of “G”, and so on.

Ukulele Chord Transposition Chart

C    DbD    EbE    F    Gb   Ab   BbB    
DEb    EF    F#    GAb    ABb    BC    C#    
E    FF#    G    G#A    BbB    CC#    D    D#
FGb    G    AbA    BbCb    CDb    D    EbE    
G    Ab    ABb    BC    DbD    Eb    EF    F#
A    BbB    CC#    DEb    E    FF#    GG#    
BC    C#D    D#E    F    F#G    G#A    A#    
C    DbD    EbE    F    GbG    AbA    Bb    B

In order to transpose a song to better fit your voice for singing and~or your fingers for playing, move the Key note of where you are, to where you want to be.

Once you move the key note, change all of the notes within the old column of the old key, to the new column of the new key.

For Example:

If I have a song that is in the Key of “C” and it’s too high for me to sing, I would transpose it by changing the key note from “C” (column 1) to “F” (column 6). Now that I have changed the key note from “C” to “F”, I also need to change all the notes in the “C” column to their ‘same row neighbors’ in the “F” column.

Because I changed “C” to “F”, I need to change the second note (D) in the old key of “C” column to the new second note (G) in the new key of “F” column.

Again, I change the third note (E) in the old key of “C” column to the new third note (A) in the new key of “F” column. Again, I change the fourth note (F) in the old key of “C” column to the new third note (Bb) in the new key of “F” column.

Transposing works the same way whether you’re in Major or Minor. The important step is making sure that you have changed all the notes accurately. 

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