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Thread: Key ?

  1. #1
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    Default Key ?

    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

  2. #2
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    Default

    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
    I'm not entirely convinced that it is possible to polish a turd. However, if one were to accomplish that feat one would still have a turd, and one all the more noticeable for being shiny.

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  3. #3
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    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.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

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  4. #4
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    Default

    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
    "Talent is just a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do." -- Bob Ross

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tootler View Post
    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!

  6. #6
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    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.
    Savannah SU-120. Bugsgear NS5. Ohana SK 70MG. Ashbury Concert Resonator. Epiphone Les Paul
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  7. #7
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    Default

    Thanks people, some great advice and helpful information there

    I will have to start learning some music theory then

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele JJ View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flea Flicker View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by uke_rob View Post
    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.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    Internet:
    You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TootlinGeoff
    Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/tootlingeoff

  9. #9
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    Default

    The simplest way is to go to www.tikiking.com and download the circle of fifths.It's free btw

  10. #10
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    Default

    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

    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.

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