Uke chords 1 - Transposition

Author of this post is Jiří Cvrkal, thanks go his way !

All parts of this series: 1 - Transposition2 - Main chords3 - Secondary chords4- Turnarounds5 - Minor tonal keys6 – Mimotonální dominanty


For many beginners the transposition is hard. Because of that I would like to show easy way that will make it easy to transpose to any tonal key, that is play higher or lower.

Why to transpose

  1. To be able to sing it
  2. To be able to play more comfortably
  3. Simply because someone started playing in other tone key. By tone key we mean playing e.g. in C major, E major, D major etc.

For this purpose we can make simple tool. Take two strips of paper and draw a scale including halftones on each strip. Better draw two octaves, to make it easier to work with. (For information: each half-tone corresponds to one instrument fret.) I recommend using different color for each strip, e.g. blue and red. Blue will be original tone key in which you have the chords, and red will be the new tone key to which you want to transpose.

On the picture you can see example when transposing chords from C major to G major. Set the two strips with C and G against each other, on the blue one there are original chords and on the red one the transposed chord. That means that e.g. instead of F you will play C, instead of G play D etc. If the original chord was Dm or Em then play of course Am or Bm (Hm in Czech notation). The same applies to chords like D7, Ddim, D6 - you play the new chords using the same variant, like A7. Adim and A6.

I hope it is clear that when you need to transpose e.g. from E to D, you set blue E against red D.

One more last thing: between the tones there are so called half-tones, which are marked by # (sharp, marked -is in Czech notation) -which makes the original tone higher by halftone, and b (flat, -es in Czech notation) -which makes the tone lower by halftone. Example: C# and Db means that tone C# is the same as tone Db. That is because some tones are sharp and some flat, but that is beyond this tool, so do not think about it.