• Introduction To Chord-Based Idea Transposition In The Major Key

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory,Transposing Keys

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    In this lesson, we’ll be looking at the concept of idea transposition in the major key.

    The goal of this introductory lesson is to start you out with the most basic information on idea transposition in the major key; ranging from its definition, to how it works.

    Let’s get straight into the definition of idea transposition in the major key before anything else.

    Idea Transposition In The Major Key — Defined

    Transposition simply means the transfer of position:

    TRANSfer of POSITION = TRANSPOSITION

    Idea transposition is concerned with the transfer of an idea (be it a note, scale, interval, chord, progression, etc.) from one scale tone to the other.

    Other ideas like licks, montunos, arpeggios, runs, etc, are not left behind: they can also be transposed.

    A Short Note On The Scale Tones Of The Major Key

    There are seven unique tones in the major key. Using the key of C major as a reference, we have:

    C:

    D:

    E:

    F:

    G:

    A:

    B:

    …and every unique tone of the scale has its place and function in the major key.

    The Transposition Of Ideas In The Major Key

    Ideas in the major key can be transposed from one tone of the scale to another and that’s our goal (to see how notes, scales, intervals, chords, progressions, etc., can be transposed).

    “Here’s An Example Of Idea Transposition In The Major Key…”

    In the key of C major:

    The 2-5-1 chord progression:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    …can be transferred from its position as the first tone of the scale (which is C):

    …to the fourth tone of the scale (which is F):

    …and that would produce the 5-1-4 chord progression:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    The 4-chord:

    …which is actually a 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of F major:

    Attention: The concept of idea transposition in the major key works with scale tones that have the same quality. In the case above, we transposed from the 1-chord to the 4-chord because the 1-chord and 4-chord are both major chords.

    Before we go any further, let’s look at the chord quality associated with every tone of the scale in the major key.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    Chord Quality Of Scale Tone Chords In The Major Key

    There are seven unique seventh chords in the major key. Here are the scale tone chords in the key of C major:

    The C major seventh chord:

    The D minor seventh chord:

    The E minor seventh chord:

    The F major seventh chord:

    The G dominant seventh chord:

    The A minor seventh chord:

    The B half-diminished seventh chord:

    There are four chord types in the major key: the major chord, the minor chord, the dominant chord, and the diminished chord. Let’s take a closer look at these chord types.

    Major Chords In The Major Key

    There are two major chords in the major key: the 1-chord and the 4-chord. In the key of C major:

    …the C major seventh chord:

    …and the F major seventh chord:

    …are the major chords in the major key.

    Attention: The 5-chord is also a major chord. However, it is classified as the dominant chord in the major key.

    Minor Chords In The Major Key

    The 6-chord, 2-chord, and 3-chord in the major key have the same chord quality —  the minor chord quality.

    In the key of C major:

    …the A minor seventh chord:

    …D minor seventh chord:

    …and the E minor seventh chord:

    …are the minor chords in the major key.

    The Dominant Chord In The Major Key

    The term dominant is associated with the fifth tone of major scale and this implies that the 5-chord is the dominant chord.

    In the key of C major:

    …the G dominant seventh chord:

    …is the dominant seventh chord in the major key.

    The Diminished Chord In The Major Key

    The 7-chord is the diminished chord in the major key.

    In the key of C major:

    …the B half-diminished seventh chord:

    …is the diminished seventh chord in the major key.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    “Here’s How Idea Transposition In The Major Key Works…”

    Here are the number of chords for each of the chord types in the major key:

    Major chords = 2

    Minor chords = 3

    Dominant chords = 1

    Diminished chords = 1

    In the major key, idea transposition works between major and minor chord types because there are at least two chords in each category.

    “Here Are The Two Relationships In The Major Key…”

    The “1-4” chord relationship. The 1-chord and the 4-chord belong to the major category and chord-based transposition can be used to apply a 1-chord idea over a 4 chord idea or vice-versa. The “1-4” chord relationship can also be called the major chord relationship.

    The “2-3-6” chord relationship. There are three scale tone chords in the minor category: the 2-chord, 3-chord, and the 6-chord. Using the concept of chord-based transposition, a 2-chord idea can be applied over the 3-chord and 6-chord, a 3-chord idea can be applied over the 2-chord and 6-chord, etc. The “2-3-6” chord relationship can also be called the minor chord relationship.

    Let’s break these chord relationships down all the more.

    The “1-4” Relationship

    The chord quality relationship between the 1-chord and 4-chord makes it possible for 1-chord ideas to be transposed to the 4-chord and vice-versa.

    A chord progression to the 1-chord can be transposed to the 4-chord. The 2-5-1 chord progression to the 1-chord in the key of C major:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    …can be transposed to the 4-chord by playing the same progression in the key of F major:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    Although the 2-chord  (the G minor ninth chord) and the 5-chord (the C dominant thirteenth chord) are not scale tone chords in the key of C major, they are only derived from the idea transposition of the major 2-5-1 from the 1-chord to the 4-chord.

    The “2-3-6” Relationship

    The 2-chord, 3-chord, and 6-chord all have the minor chord quality in common. So, it’s possible to transpose a minor chord idea from one minor chord to another:

    2-chord idea to either the 3-chord or the 6-chord

    3-chord idea to either the 2-chord or the 6-chord

    6-chord idea to either the 2-chord or the 3-chord

    A chord progression to the 6-chord can be transposed to the 3-chord. The minor 2-5-1 chord progression to the 6-chord in the key of C major:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    …can be transposed to the 3-chord:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    The 2-chord  (the F# half-diminished seventh chord) and the 5-chord (the B altered dominant seventh chord) are not scale tone chords in the key of C major. They are derived from the idea transposition of the minor 2-5-1 chord progression from the 6-chord to the 3-chord.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    Final Words

    Chord-based transposition in the major key helps you cycle major ideas between the 1-chord and 4-chord, and  minor ideas between the 2-chord, 3-chord, and 6-chord.

    We’ll dedicate another lesson to exploring practical transposition of licks, chord progressions, chords, and more from one scale tone in the major key to another.

    All the best and see you then.

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 James Singer

    I reviewed the Chord Base Idea Transposition. I have been refreshed to know how significant chord relationships affect transposition. Within a major key signature there are Major chords = 2, Minor chords = 3, Dominant chords = 1, Diminished chords = 1 Thank you GMTC for the detailed attention.

    Reply

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