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I'd like to transpose a sample (in cents) from G Minor to C Major.

How do I do that, or is it even possible?

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    It's not easy simply transposing anything from a minor key to a major one. Some parts just don't transpose that well. 100 cents is one semitone, in 12tet, but I can't see how that will help do what you want. You can merely take everything up/down by the same number of semitones/cents/whathaveyou, but it will still emerge in a minor key. – Tim Jun 16 at 14:23
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    If you really want to change minor to major, about the only tool available that can do it is Melodyne, though it is not cheap - €99 for the basic version, up to €699 for the full multitrack version. – Tetsujin Jun 16 at 16:44
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    Do you mean, "I have a sample that was originally used in a song that's in the key of G minor, and I want to use it in a song that's in the key of C major, how many cents do I have to transpose the sample to make it fit the new song's key"? In that case, you transpose up 200 cents, i.e. two semitones. G minor has the same key signature as Bb major, and the distance from Bb to C is two semitones. – piiperi Jun 16 at 18:43
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    In addition to the other answers, I would say that any software that can consistently convincingly transpose from major to minor in music of any complexity would stand a good chance of winning the Turing Test, the equivalence of human intelligence. Try it on a Beethoven string quartet. – Scott Wallace Jun 17 at 9:13
  • The word "transpose" means to shift the key, but not to shift the modality. You're asking to transpose and change from minor (which? natural? harmonic?) to major. – Carl Witthoft Jun 17 at 15:07
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You can't just transpose a minor key into a major key, because a minor scale has a different structure than a major scale.

Natural minor scale in steps: whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole

Major scale in steps: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half

Because you've talked about cents... 100 cents are equal to one semitone.

So you could transpose a G major scale into a C major scale, by transposing each note in the key of G major either 5 semitones (500 cents) up, or 7 semitones (700 cents) down.

But again, this doesn't work for major into minor keys or vice versa, because if you would transpose the minor chords of G minor up or down, they still maintain minor chords, so they would have chromatic chord notes, that are actually not in the scale of C major.

And with samples, you basically have no chance at all to transpose anything from minor to major or vice versa. You can transpose them up or down in pitch, but they would always maintain major or minor.

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    Bear in mind that's only one minor scale out of three. – Tim Jun 16 at 17:30
  • @Tim three of the scales when based on the modes of the major scale. There's more than just three minor scales in existance – Cole Johnson Aug 24 at 18:49
  • @ColeJohnson - there are three minor scales that are recognised in existence. There are also minor modes. – Tim Aug 24 at 20:01
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You could transpose the G minor sample to A minor, which is the relative minor of C Major, which means that it uses the same notes as C Major and the sample won't clash (too much) with other elements in C Major. You'll have to judge whether the combination of A minor and C Major elements in the track sounds good or not on a case by case basis.

That would mean tuning it up by two semitones, or +200 cents. If you transpose without resampling, this will also speed the sample up by 12.25%.

Depending on the specific notes being played in the sample and in the rest of the track, other transpositions might work too, especially to D minor (+700 or -500 cents) and E minor (-300 cents).

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A simple transposition won't be able to change a sample from minor to major, because a transposition won't change the frequency ratios between the notes (which is what's required to be able to change the tonality).

One answer might be to use a special kind of audio editor that can pick out the individual notes in an audio recording. Celemony's Melodyne is the best-known example of this kind of program.

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    I've also tried this in the past, but most of the time it just sounds terrible to snap a major sample onto a minor scale grid. Also this only works for monophonic samples (if at all...). It could work to do it for single melody lines etc, but as soon as you have more instruments, chords or even a complete song, it just doesn't work. – Andy Jun 16 at 16:47
  • @Andy many caveats apply with Melodyne, and I agree that the level of success will depend on the source material, but i think Celemony might be disappointed with the suggestion that it only works for monophonic samples; a major selling point of the product is that it can work on some polyphonic samples. – topo Reinstate Monica Jun 16 at 17:46
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    "A major selling point of the product is that it can work on some polyphonic samples" - It's also a major selling point of Avid's AudioScore Ultimate that it can create a MIDI score of any audio source. It's already a 'finished' product and sells for $249.00, but in the real world, the way it works at the moment, it shouldn't be even more than a free beta. Sometimes we just have to face the fact that some programs aren't just as good as advertised or as good as we would like them to be :P – Andy Jun 16 at 18:11
  • @Andy I won't make any claims about its functionality being good enough for any particular use case - that's for each user to judge. I just think "it just doesn't work" is a bit harsh. Put in this way - everyone seems to reckon that "REM - Recovering My Religion" track was made with melodyne! (vimeo.com/57685359) – topo Reinstate Monica Jun 16 at 18:45
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    I remember a Sound On Sound magazine review of Melodyne or similar software where the reviewer changed a Beatles track from minor to major and stunned everyone he played it to. – Your Uncle Bob Jun 16 at 18:52

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