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uke_rob
10-13-2011, 12:56 PM
So, you got a song, chords etc, but your voice doesn't suit the key for that song.

First off, how do you know your voice doesn't suit it, and what key suits what voice ?

Secondly, how do you know the chords to change and change them to what in the relative keys. For example, if I had a song in C, but needed to change it to A, how do I know how to do that ?


Sorry if it's a repeated question and your fed up of hearing it!

Thank you

OldePhart
10-13-2011, 01:43 PM
You know the key doesn't suit your voice if you have to strain to reach the high notes or the low notes fade to near silence becaue you can't push enough air that low.

You need to know and understand scales to transpose, when you know and understand scales transposing is no big deal.

For example, if you know the chromatic scale then you know that A is three half-steps down from C (C to B, to Bb, to A). So, to transpose you simply move every chord down three half steps. C becomes A. F becomes D. G becomes E, Am becomes F#m. Dm becomes Bm. Those five chords (or variations of them, such as the dominant 7) are the I, IV, V, vi, and ii chords of the scale and are all you need to play 99% of popular songs.

John

Tootler
10-13-2011, 03:26 PM
Another useful trick is to use a capo. It's especially useful for taking you up a few steps. For example if you have a song with chords in C and find it a little low and D would be more comfortable, then put a capo on the 2nd fret and you instantly have a ukulele tuned ADF#B. If you then play your C chord shapes, you will be playing in D. The advantage of a capo is that you can experiment a little. D still too low? Move the capo up another fret. Alternatively if a jump from C to D is too much, put the capo on the first fret.

I have some songs that I sing in D and I play the D chord shapes and others where I will use a capo and play C chord shapes as it gives a different tonality which may suit the song better.

A capo does take a bit of getting used to, though.

Ukulele JJ
10-13-2011, 03:29 PM
Yeah, there are basically two ways to think about transposing.

The first, as John mentioned, is to know how far up or down the key you want is. You then move every chord up or down by that amount.

The second is to think about how each chord relates to the key. You then change the chord so it relates the same way to the new key. In other words, a G chord in the key of C is the V chord (based on the fifth note in the C major scale). The V chord in the key of A is an E chord (it's based on the same fifth note in the A major scale).

Well, I guess there's a third way, which is to cheat and use some online transposing doo-dad. But where's the fun in that? :-)

JJ

Flea Flicker
10-13-2011, 05:03 PM
Another useful trick is to use a capo . . . A capo does take a bit of getting used to, though.

Its probably just me or perhaps the more favorable experiences I've had with capo's on various guitars, but I don't have much luck using them on ukes. I tend to get somewhat better success with one on a tenor than a soprano, but generally speaking, they reek havoc on my intonation. I think its the ultra short scale of ukes and perhaps the stretchy nature of nylon strings, but I can't hold intonation on a soprano when using a capo to save my life!

Ted4
10-14-2011, 12:25 AM
A transposing tip that I use with my non-music reading chums is to get them to draw out a sheet of paper a diagram of an octave of the piano keyboard. Write all the note underneath it, then transposing is simply a matter of counting up or down to change the chords to another key.

uke_rob
10-14-2011, 04:36 AM
Thanks people, some great advice and helpful information there :)

I will have to start learning some music theory then :)

Tootler
10-14-2011, 11:11 AM
Well, I guess there's a third way, which is to cheat and use some online transposing doo-dad. But where's the fun in that? :-)

JJ

Maybe not but it can save time and effort so you can focus on playing.;)


Its probably just me or perhaps the more favorable experiences I've had with capo's on various guitars, but I don't have much luck using them on ukes. I tend to get somewhat better success with one on a tenor than a soprano, but generally speaking, they reek havoc on my intonation. I think its the ultra short scale of ukes and perhaps the stretchy nature of nylon strings, but I can't hold intonation on a soprano when using a capo to save my life!

I use mine on a concert uke and I haven't found a major problem with intonation. The main problem I have is that it gets in the way of your hand and fingering some chords - which I would imagine is less of a problem on guitar.


Thanks people, some great advice and helpful information there :)

I will have to start learning some music theory then :)

It's well worth the trouble of learning some basic music theory. Understanding what you are doing enables you to make proper informed choices, so go for it.

Loupin' Flech
10-14-2011, 12:01 PM
The simplest way is to go to www.tikiking.com and download the circle of fifths.It's free btw ;)

EvilTwin
10-14-2011, 12:28 PM
If you want to raise or lower the key you can transpose. Heres a handy hint:

A website I've a lot of love for at the moment is The Chordie (http://www.chordie.com/)

They've a fantastic range of songs, but most usefully for us is they display the chords for Uke in either C or D tuning. You can also raise or lower the song by up to 5 semitones. Handy for matching the song to your voice. Also for getting your head round transposing songs up and down.

Also handy for a learner like me: Cant play an E properly yet? shift the song round to a set of chords that are more within your ability level. Songs can be shifted round to make them more singer/learner friendly in this way.

sugengshi
11-08-2011, 12:02 PM
The simplest way is to go to www.tikiking.com and download the circle of fifths.It's free btw ;)

Thanks. This is definitely a very useful tool to have around. I guess it is time for me to brush up and polish music theory. :-)

Keithmj
11-08-2011, 07:52 PM
On the circle of fifths they say if stepping it clockwise takes you up a 5th and counter clockwise it takes you up a 4th . But in the book I have called Ukulele Fretboard Roadmaps on page 57, if you have the book, and from what I read is (Also called the circle of fourths) it says that a step clockwise you take up a 4th and counter clockwise it takes you up a 5th. Now I am confused. One place says clockwise 5 and another place says clockwise 4..What is the correct answer? Why would Ukulele Fretboard say 4th and Wikipedia say 5th if going clockwise? It is called the circle of fifths but the one in the book is really the circle of fourths..I am just trying to get this correct..Keith

Keithmj
11-09-2011, 08:29 AM
Got part of it figured out..Everything is like looking in a mirror, just backwards. Sharps on the left and flats on the right. If there is more let me know..Keith

Jason Paul
11-09-2011, 11:01 AM
I was about to post a link to Tiki King's Circle of Fifths too, until I saw it was already posted. That's a helpful tool.

Regarding Fretboard Roadmaps; the CoF in that book is backwards from just about every other CoF I've seen. True, it's just reversed, but it's bugged me since day one.

Jason

mm stan
11-09-2011, 11:16 AM
You can also drop tune you ukulele a half step or two.....to match your voice

Keithmj
11-09-2011, 12:47 PM
I was about to post a link to Tiki King's Circle of Fifths too, until I saw it was already posted. That's a helpful tool.

Regarding Fretboard Roadmaps; the CoF in that book is backwards from just about every other CoF I've seen. True, it's just reversed, but it's bugged me since day one.

Jason

Maybe I'll email them and see what the problem is with the chart in the book..Keith

Doghouse_Riley
11-09-2011, 02:06 PM
One way to look at transposing. Let's take a simple chord progression in the key of A major: /A/D/Bm-E7/. First, let's look at this as numbers rather than letters. According to musical convention we use Roman numerals to express chords. Since this is the key of A major we designate the first chord, A, as I. Also we need to know a little scale theory. Remember back to those old piano lessons and the key signatures (for those that don't know their key signatures I try to explain that further down). We know that the key of A major has 3 sharps F#, C#, G#. Sticking those into our scale we find that the major scale in A is A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G#. To find the number for the D chord we count up the scale. A,B,C#,D making D the IV (4) chord. Counting up to the the ii (2) chord A,B gives us Bm as the ii chord. Notice the Roman numeral for the ii chord in this case is lower case. The lower case signifies that it is a minor chord. When we count up the scale to the E7 chord (A,B,C,D,E) we see that it is the V7 chord. Notice here the Roman numeral is upper case with a 7 signifying that it is a dominant 7 chord. So now expressed in Roman numerals our progression becomes /I/IV/ii-V7/.

What if we want to play this same chord progression in D? No problem, the key signature for D major has 2 sharps, F# and C# giving us D,E,F#,G,A,B,C# as our D major scale. So, now D is our I. Our next chord is the IV so we count up from D. D,E,F#,G so our IV chord is G. Counting up for the ii chord D,E and remembering that the lower case signifies minor our ii chord is Em. V7 chord? D,E,F#,G,A gives us our V7 as A7. Final result gives us /D/G/Em-A7/.

So what if we never learned key signatures? Well, here are 2 ways to figure out your scale. First, if you know the major scale pattern on your uke just start on the note that you want to know the major scale for and starting at 1 count as you play each note. When you hit the number you're looking for figure out what that note is a you got it. But what if you don't know your major scale pattern? Well, first off you probably got confused and didn't read this far anyway but if you persevered let me try and help a bit. You're going to need to know the circle of fifths. The circle of 5ths you're concerned with here is (F),C,G,D,A,E,B,F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,E#(F). Notice if we take the key of C, and count up the alphabet to the next key, G, (C,D,E,F,G) it is 5 thus the circle of fifths. Notice also that the it starts at C and goes all the way to E#, better known as F (they're the same note aka enharmonic) which are the 12 different notes that comprise the chromatic scale. Hence it circles all the way around all 12 keys. Now for the number of sharps in each key. The key of C major has no sharps or flats (C,D,E,F,G,A,B). Proceeding around the circle of 5ths the key of G major has 1 sharp. The way to know which is the 1 sharp in the key of G major is to return to our circle of 5ths and see that it begins with F. F# is the 1 sharp in the key of G major (G,A,B,C,D,E,F#). Continuing around the circle of 5ths is the key of D major. D major has 2 sharps, F# and the next note on the circle of 5ths, C#. So our D major scale is D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#. How many sharps are in the key of A major? Correct, 3 sharps, F#, C#, G# (G being the note after C in the circle of 5ths). So the scale of G major is A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G#. This continues adding one more sharp for each step around the circle of 5ths. Key of E major E,F#,G#,A,B,C#,D#. And so on. Oh, I know your next question. What about the key of F and Ab, Bb, etc? Well for that we spin the circle the opposite way and call it the circle of 4ths: (C),F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Cb(B). Each note is a 4th away from the previous. Again, the key of C major has no accidentals (aka sharps and flats). The next key on the circle of 4ths is F major. F major has 1 *flat* which is Bb. The F major scale is F,G,A,Bb,C,D,E. The next key after F on the circle of 4ths is Bb. Since F had 1 flat Bb obviously must have 2 flats Bb and the next note after Bb on the circle of 4ths, Eb. So the scale of Bb major is Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G,A. Eb major has 3 flats, Bb, Eb, Ab and the Eb major scale is Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb,C,D. We continue around adding our flat notes to the next key until we get to Cb which is the same as B (remember enharmonic?). Since we already covered the key of B in the section on the sharp keys we don't need to go further. So now we have all the keys covered plus the commonly used enharmonic keys.

I know this is a little complicated. It's also not the only way to explain these concepts. Like many aspects of music theory there are more than one way to look at things. It can actually be kind of fun to see how it all links together. But never let the study of theory take you from what is really important which is this: HAVE FUN PLAYING MUSIC.