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Music Theory:
Transposing Triad Chord Progressions



Q: I was wondering if you could take the triad Harmonic Analysis lesson you had done a step further and cover the concept of Transposing chord progressions into other keys?
~ Bill

A: Transposing chord progressions requires some background knowledge.

- You must know your keys and their key signatures.

- Knowledge of harmony and harmonic analysis is vital. It relates to the quality of each step of the scale and which kinds of chords are found on those steps.

If the background theory is well established for you then you are ready to start transposing.

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Once the original key is established and you know full well what key you are transposing into, write out the harmonic analysis for the original key.


The above example is taken directly from the video. The key center is F Major. The progression of chords moves from Tonic chord of F Major, to the 3rd chord of A Minor. Next, the 4 chord of Bb Major moves into the Dominant Family Chord of C Major.

If we wanted to transpose this progression into the key of D Major, we would require knowledge of the D Major key signature as well as the harmony of D Major.

D Major has two sharps. They are F# and C#. The harmony of this key can be applied on the fly as we drop in thye appropriate chords of the transposed progression. Since the 3 chord was minor, our new 3 chord in D Major is also minor. Simply apply the 3rd note of the D scale, which is an F#, into the transposed section. Our new chord in D would be an F# Minor. The next chord would transpose as a 4th chord of G Major. And, finally our old five chord the C Major will become an A Major chord.