I have music theory book that is piano centered and switches between bass and violin clefs. I'm wondering how to transpose notes to comfortably play it on guitar. Moving one octave up is best way?

I'm trying to play Tritone Progression: Interpolation of one note (first example from Thesaurus of musical scales and melodic patterns) and some notes are lower than standard tuned guitar is able to play.

I just found there is guitar edition of this book :( (edit: and it is transposed one octave higher)

This are notes on staff:


This is typical for keyboard


This is notes can be played on standard tuned guitar:


The third picture suggests that lowest note can be played on guitar is E3 (the same tuxguitar says) but wikipedia says standard tuning is E2 to E4.

So can I play right hand of piano on guitar or do I have to transpose them?

  • 2
    Please try to be more specific, and show your own thoughts and what you have tried. There is very little information in your question, so think about editing it with more content and an example. Jan 3, 2016 at 10:07
  • @MichaelKunst is this better now?
    – teodozjan
    Jan 3, 2016 at 18:57
  • 1
    If this gets reopened, you should put the answer as an answer, rather than part of the question. It makes it easier for future users if it's in the usual format, and answering your own question is perfectly acceptable.
    – Karen
    Jan 7, 2016 at 14:00
  • 1
    Teodozjan - Thanks for updating the post. I have slightly edited your title and reopened. Can you take the answer section and post it as an answer please.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Jan 7, 2016 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


The guitar is a transposing instrument—music for it is notated one octave higher than actual sounding pitch, to reduce the need for ledger lines in music written for the instrument, and simplify reading. from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_tunings

So the real note played on guitar is E2 but as it is transposing instrument notes are written octave higher than it plays to avoid two clefs usage. That is why third picture starts with E3 even though the really played note is E2. There are two solutions here: to play it as it is and play bass notes on bass string and treble notes on treble string.This approach will be great when playing song with distinct bass and solo melody what is very common for piano songs. However for single melody it will be more comfortable to play it octave higher like Thesaurus for guitar does.


Music written for both treble and bass guitar is written one octave higher than played, so the lowest note on a treble guitar with regular E tuning is E2. When playing guitar from the G clef, play one octave lower than written, but if playing treble guitar from the F clef, play one octave higher. I find this to be a convenient way to practice, playing each staff one after the other, and playing chords as arpeggios.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.