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Can all songs be transposed?

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Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 27
Topic starter  

I always thought that all songs can be transposed to another key on a guitar,i tried a few of the ones i know but it just doesnt work,am i right? i used the 1 1V V system on Country,Rockabilly and Blues songs and found some work and others dont.Am i doing something wrong or is my discovery right? Thanks in advance for replies.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921

All songs can be transposed.

Some will sound quite different - if you're playing a song in E, and decide to do it in D, you won't sound quite the same - but that's because a) the interval of transposition might be inverted (because of the instrument's range) and/or b) you may be using different chord voicings.

For example, if you've got a song in E and you want to play it in D, you might be going from a full open chord (E-B-E-G#-B-E) to a smaller open chord (D-A-D-F#). Not only do you have fewer notes... you've also got a different note (the third) in the soprano voice.

If you want to keep the voicing the same, that means either retuning the guitar... or inverting the interval. Instead of going down by a major second, you're going up by a minor seventh - playing an E shape barre chord at the 10th fret. That's a pretty large transposition, and it's going to sound different. But if you tuned down, it should sound more or less the same.

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184

put a capo on it and play it again. it sounds about the same.

Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 23

Yes, all songs can be transposed.
The song will sound a bit different in different keys, and you may not be able to use your favorite chord shapes in a comfortable/reasonable position on the guitar fretboard, but yeah, you can play anything in any key

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