I'm transposing a piece in Db major for a group of students I'm tutoring. However, they're not ready to play 5 flats just yet. I'm not the best at music theory; does anyone have any suggestions for what key I should transpose that would sound similar to the original key?

  • 2
    From the tags seems to be piano.
    – Tom
    Oct 15 '20 at 18:06

'To preserve the original feeling' - any key. As, on piano, all notes are part of 12tet, and to most people, a transposed piece will sound the same in any key. Most will not include those with absolute pitch, or those who would be aware that it's been transposed by something like half an octave.

My suggestion would be to transpose to key D major. In fact, were there no accidentals in the sheet music, they could ignore all the flats, and pretend there were two sharps there instead.

If they're not ready for two sharps, an obvious new key would be C major - which even to seasoned musicians, may well not be obvious that the key had been changed anyway.

  • It's waaay too early to accept any answer, let alone this one! And what are you tutoring? 'Not the best at music theory' sound somewhat risky!
    – Tim
    Oct 15 '20 at 15:37

C or D I suppose. But, particularly if this is on piano, it might actually be HARDER to play in a different key. The 'all the black notes' keys can fall very nicely under the fingers, just as well as an 'all the white notes' one. Self-taught pianists often 'busk' in G♭ and D♭ majors. Maybe you're more scared of D♭ major than the students would be!


What instruments? C major is close and has the simplest key signature. D major is also close, and is easy for beginners on stringed instruments because there'll be plenty of opportunities to play notes on open strings (G, D, A, E).

  • One tag is 'piano'.
    – Tim
    Oct 16 '20 at 14:55

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