Seven Easy Steps to Transposing Music

Transposing Music – what is it?

Transposition or transposing music means playing or writing the music in a different key.

Working it all out

Here are the steps I use when teaching the concept of transposition in music to my students.


If you needed to transpose the following melody DOWN to D major, how would you do it?

The questions you need to ask yourself are:

1. What is the key of the original/given melody

2. What key are you transposing to?

3. In the box below, write out the letter names of the scale degrees for BOTH the original and new (transposed) key! Don’t worry about the accidentals. The key signature takes care of them! (BUT – DON’T skip this step)

4. Write the scale degree numbers under the given melody!

5. On a blank staff, write in the new key signature (D major) and the time signature and then draw the bar lines precisely in line with the given melody.

6. Check if you are transposing the music up or down! This will determine the position of the very first note!

7. Using the scale degree numbers as a guide, notate the melody in the new key.

TIP: keep the notes in line with the original melody, and follow its melodic shape.

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