Transpose Chords & Voicings You’re Learning
Transpose Chords For More Confidence
I want to encourage you to transpose chords that you learn to other keys. Preferably, you will transpose them to all 12 keys. However, if the concept of transposition is rather new to you, then start out small. Taking one chord voicing that you learn and playing it in one or two other keys is better than not doing it at all.
To transpose anything in music means to play it in a key different than the one you are currently playing it. For example, if a C Major triad consists of C, E, and G played simultaneously. When you have those keys pressed down on your piano or keyboard, you can visually see the space (or interval) between each chord tone. If you move up 4 half steps up from that C, you arrive at E. If you move up 3 half steps from that E, you arrive at G. Therefore, we can say that the “formula” for playing a C Major triad in root position is “4 half steps, 3 half steps.” Keep in mind that we are just using this half-step approach as a visual aid.
So, now that we know that formula for constructing that C Major chord in root position, that means we also know the formula for constructing any major triad in root position in any key.
[For those acquainted with music theory, you’ll know that we are referring to the intervallic structure of the chord. We can simply state that a major triad consists of a Major 3rd interval and a Minor 3rd interval.]
In learning to transpose chords or voicings, what we have done is essentially what you need to know. Now we know how to transpose the Major triad to any key. Let’s apply this by transposing the chord above to F# Major. Starting on F#, simply move up 4 half steps to arrive at the next chord tone, which is A#. From there, proceed up 3 half steps to arrive at your next chord tone, which is C#. There it is! F#, A#, and C# played simultaneously results in the F# Major chord.
This is just one example of how to transpose chords in any key and we applied the concept of transposition to a very basic chord. However, the same principle applies to any given chord structure, including the most complex voicings that you may encounter. As long as you keep the steps in between each chord tone the same starting from a different root (name of the chord), you’ll be transpoing that chord or voicing successfully.
Members of ProProach who have taken themselves through a few lessons are used to my encouraging them to make the most of each lesson, spending a week or more on it before moving on the next. This time can be put to terrific use if one takes the time to transpose the given chord voicing structure at hand to different keys. In addition, putting those chord voicings to use in the context of actual tunes really takes the value of that lesson up a few notches! When people actually take the time to do this, they experience the value of focusing on one lesson at a time with this program. I’ve received emails from them as confirmation.
If you have already received Lesson #1 of ProProach, I would like to encourage you to make use of the above recommendation. Tranpose that 1-7-3-5-9 piano chord voicing to other keys, perhaps starting with F and G. Chances are great that, once you do that, you will feel inspired to play it in other keys as well. That’s a fantastic thing about transposing chords… the more you do it, the easier it becomes!
Also, keep it fun. Rather than approaching this whole idea in a robotic, disciplined manner, just keep a light and playful attitude while transposing chords. The more you train yourself to enjoy it, the better you get at it and vice-versa!