Transpose Chords From An Audio File

Getting a chord chart in the right key can often be a real problem. If you have your music in a scoring program or a MIDI file, a few clicks and some correcting time and you will be fine. But if you don't have a chord chart at all, and all you have is a recording of the song, you might think you're out of luck. And if the recording of the song is in the wrong key, all the more so!

Two functions need to be done:

  1. to identify chords from the audio file
  2. to transpose chords to the desired key

This Software Program Can Do It

I have downloaded and been testing Song Surgeon, a software dedicated to performing and recording musicians. You can do the same, by clicking here. This program is focused on changing the tempo of a song without changing the key, and transposing the song without changing the tempo. There are three other functions the program does:

  1. provides a four beat click intro and a metronome
  2. lets you lower the prominence of the recorded vocal with equalization
  3. identifies the chords, displays them and allows you to export the chord list

Identify Chords in an MP3 or Audio File?

Yes. When Song Surgeon loads a file, it automatically identifies the chords of the song and displays them at the bottom of the waveform. You can zoom out and zoom in to follow the chord progressions as the music plays. The program comes with an attached music pad, which enables you to export the chord list in a spreadsheet compatible file. That will let you place them and format them in any sequence you wish.

The magic, however, is that when you transpose the key that the music plays in, you also transpose the chords. You then save the new arrangement, and export the new chord list. That is how you identify and transpose chords from an audio file.

There will certainly be some editing required, as more complex chords may not display as you intend. Even so, this is a huge timesaver, because fixing something that is 90% there is much easier.

Is This a Quality Program?

My testing has shown me that it is. When changing the key or tempo of the song, the quality of the audio remains. Distortion only becomes a problem when making excessive changes, such as slowing a song down by more than half. And the chord identification is very good, including inversions and displaying the roots of complex chords.

If you need to create a full, professional score, the program to help you with that as well. It integrates perfectly with Musescore, a highly regarded music score creation program. Again, don't take my word for it. Download the program here and run it as a free demo. All of the functions are unlocked for four hours of work, which is more than enough to see the quality and capability of this very focused and excellent program.



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