Introduction: How to Transpose Music

Picture of How to Transpose Music

How To Transpose Music
* *note some intervals will change depending on your key signature**
Elizabeth Voights
-Sheet Music
-Blank Staff Sheet Music

What is music transposing?
Music transposing is take a piece of sheet music for one instrument and changing and manipulating it to fit another instrument key.

Why is transposing so useful?
Music transposing helps music students understand how notes sound different for different instruments. Having this skill helps musicians prepare for future jobs like conducting and directing. This skill also builds other skills in music theory.

Step 1: Step 1

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-Decide which piece of sheet music you would like to transpose
ex) First line of “Ode to Joy” by Ludwig Van Beethoven

-Figure out what instrument the music was written for
ex) Piano

-Decide which instrument you would like to transpose the instrument to.
ex) Alto Saxophone

-Now that you know which instrument you would like to transpose the music for figure out what keys each instrument is in.

-Find a transposing chart that will help guide your actions. I found mine at

-Find the interval between the two notes you want to transpose ( ) might help you with this step

Step 2: Step 2

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-Begin with your first note in this example it is E
-Go onto and find the area that starts by saying  "Once you have determined"
-Using that information to guide you to find the note equivalent to what you started with begin to transpose your music

Step 3: Step 3

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Keep using your chart don't get angry or frustrated use the chart for each note and transpose your music. You will find that after awhile it get's easier. Each chart follows a pattern you may find it easier to transpose if you can find that pattern and stick to it.

Step 4: Step 4

Sight Transposition:
What is it? Sight transposition is the skill used by most experienced musicians to be able to read off other instrumentalists music while still playing their own instrument. This skill is important to develop because you will not always have the time to pull out a transposing chart and take time to transpose the music you are looking at.

For people who want to be more advanced here a few tips to get you going on sight transposition:
-Start with small easy familiar songs
-Start with a chart and slowly start memorizing it and stop using it
-Start by transposing to instruments you play such as; from piano to clarinet
-Find a strategy that works for you such as; transposing by steps, intervals, or by moving the key signature in your head.

Step 5: Refrences



wirorg made it! (author)2014-03-27

Let's sum it up:
You've got a piece, You need to higher or lower it
a) Take a pencil, waste some hours (dependently on length and complexity of the score) and You'll get a handwritten score. Hmm, not so comfortable to read it?
b) Take Finale or Sibelius or else (MusiCad, Musescore etc), waste some hours and You'll get a better result (if You know how to use the prog)
c) Go to and order them Your scores. It's cheap and You don't waste Your time. Well, the problem is that You won't know how to transpose by pencil, but You get quite good and fast Your score done.

f.e. this duet (full) was done in less than 24 hours

Lokki33 (author)wirorg2015-02-15

How about no pencils, no wasted hours, no Finale etc., no money to, no charts you can easily get lost into and no insane (inane?) mental gymnastics skills for figuring out intervals and chords in the new key as you go? I mean just the original score, virtually no time for preparation and transposing on the spot flawlessly? Sounds impossible? Let's do some magic then.

You need to learn:

- reading music in seven clefs (G-clef, the four C-clefs and the two F-clefs) - it's not such an ordeal, trust me;

- the circle of fifths;

- two simple rules about using the circle of fifths to find the new key signature and how to deal with certain accidentals in the new key;

And off you go! After a little practice it just comes natural. You can even handle several first sight transpositions on an orchestral score and pretend play you're Karajan / <insert name to your liking>. You can spend the remaining 24 hrs. drinking beer, chasing women etc or whatever floats your boat.

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