Following on from the previous blog on transposing a small section of music up, we’re now going to go the other way and transpose the same music down.  Remember, transposing a tune means changing all of the notes up or down by the same amount.  This will change the key of the tune.

Here’s the original example again:

And here’s the transposing chart.

If you’re confused about sharps and flats, see my blog on this subject here.

Take the first note (G) and locate it in the 12th column.  Count back (Down) two columns and you’ll find F.  When transposing down, or making the tune lower in pitch, start on column 12.

The next note (A), will give you G, when you count back two steps (two semitones lower).

The third note is B, which will transpose to A, and the fourth note is C, which changes to B flat.

As with example 2, B flat was chosen instead of A# as there are A natural notes in the music.  If we’d gone with A#, the music would have been far more complicated to read:

Better to call the A# notes B flat

The best way of writing out the examples in this blog and the previous one on transposing up, is by adding a key signature.

The original example in G major needs a single sharp on the F line, converting all Fs to F sharp

A major needs three sharps, converting all F, C and G notes to F sharp, C sharp and G sharp.

And F major needs a flat sign on the B line, converting all Bs to B flat.

With the correct key signature added at the beginning of the line of music, there is no need to add sharp, flat or natural signs in the music at all.  The sharp sign on the F line in the G major example means that all Fs should be sharpened (unless otherwise stated).  The sharps on the F, C and G lines and spaces on the A major example means that all Fs, Cs and Gs should be sharpened (unless otherwise stated).  And, on the F major example, all B notes are flattened.  All of which goes to make much easier reading.

Written music should always convey information in the clearest way possible.

In the next blog, I’ll look at transposing a larger musical example, how key signatures fit in and discuss the new possibilities for variations that present themselves in the process of transposing.

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