Are You A Slave To The “Transpose Button?”

Posted on 18. Sep, 2013 by in Ask Greg

Dont Be a Slave to the Transpose Button.fw

Can you show me how to transpose these chords in A flat to the key of D? The chords are C/FBbCEb, EbBb/EbGBbEb, FC/EbGAbBb. In the key of D, the first chord would be DAD/FE. Am I right? I’m playing Deeper by Israel and New Breed for a special with the worship team at my church and I’m looking for

some good ending chords to keep the worship going. The last chord of the song is a G maj9. Thanks!


The easiest way to transpose chords to another key is to use my “Contemporary Chord Finder” resource Book or my “Transposition Chart” to transpose one note at a time. In your question above you gave 3 chords in the Key of Ab that you wanted to transpose to the key of D major. First we need to apply the chord number approach to your chords. Your first chord is a Dbmaj13, the second chord is Eb major, the third chord is Fm11.

Let’s apply the following bass notes to the scale tone numbers the key of Ab. The bass line would be Db, Eb, F. In Ab major Db=4, Eb=5, F=6. The chord progression would be 4 – 5 – 6. From these numbers we can use the “Contemporary Chord Finder” to  find the 4, 5, and 6 chord in the key of Ab major.

In order to transpose the 4 – 5 – 6 progression to another key ( In this case D major) we must apply this formula to the D major scale. In the Key of D major: 4=G, 5=A, 6=B.  Using the chords you provided;  In D major the 4 chord is Gmaj13, the 5 chord is A and the 6 chord is Bm11.

As a rule of thumb when spelling out the note in a chord, stay within the guide lines of the Key Circle. In other words don’t mix sharps and flats together. If the key contain all flats (F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb) use all flats when writing the individual notes. If  the key contain all sharps (G, D, A, E, B,) used all sharps when writing individual notes.


Incorrect:  C# Ab C#/F Bb C Eb
Correct   : Db Ab D/F Bb C Eb

A great example using the 4-5-6 progression in Ab major would be “I Need You Know” by Smokey Norful. These are my preferred chord voicing for the 4-5-6 progression.

Learn them in every Key.

4 = Dbmaj13 – Db Ab Db/ F Bb C F
5 = Eb2         – Eb Bb Eb/ F G Bb Eb
6 = Fm11       – F C Eb/ G Ab Bb Eb

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