Transposing a piece of music involves moving the existing music either up or down a set intervallic distance. For example, the following two bars
can be moved (transposed) down an octave,
or, up an octave.
Note: the melodic intervals between the notes remain the same; it is the distance which you move the melody up or down which dictates the type of transposition; in these examples the transposition is at the distance of an octave.
Transposition can occur at any interval. For example our melody can be moved up a minor third,
or, down a perfect fifth.
In example 1, our example which was originally in the key of C major is now in the key of E flat major.
In example 2, our example is now in the key of F major. Note the change of key signature in the transposed examples.
If there are additional accidentals (sharps or flats) included in the original piece of music, for example, if we included a D sharp in our original.
These accidentals need to be included in our transposed version also.
Our F major version would look like this:
And our E flat major version would look like this:
Things to remember when transposing:
- The shape of the melody (the intervals between notes) needs to remain the same in both original and transposed versions
- Transposition can occur at any interval
- Remember to change key signature when you transpose