Joy to the World is an amazing melody. It’s also a great tool for practicing transposition. That’s because the melody fits exactly within a one-octave range. In this lesson, I’m going to show you how to play it in all twelve keys!
So the cool thing is, once you can play this in D major, then you can play it on any other scale you know. I find it incredibly stimulating and fun to transpose tunes to more challenging keys.
Let’s start with something easy
The easiest transposition would to G or A major because you just use the same exact fingering. For G major, start on D3. And for A major, start on E3. I suggest that you warm up with a scale before doing any transposition. So if we are transposing from D to G, the process could be:
- Play the tune in the original key of D.
- Play a G major scale until it sounds good and flows.
- Play the tune in the original key of G.
The tabs first phrase would be: D3-2-1-0-G3-2-1-0
This general practice strategy also works for harder transpositions, which we’ll do next.
Let’s up the ante
All other transpositions require a different fingering. This will be trickier at first. But if you know the new scale REALLY well, then it won’t take you too long to transpose simple tunes.
Say you’re learning the upper octave of G major and are excited to practice that with lots of different tunes. Once you’ve warmed up with the scale, start Joy To The World on EL2.
Now, here’s the fun part. Once you can play this with flow, use the same fingering to play it in C major by starting on AL2.
If you’re learning F major, start it on EL1.
Use the same fingering to play it in B flat major by starting on AL1.
To play it in the upper octave of B flat major, start it on EL4.
Use the same fingering to play it in E flat by starting on AL4.
Similarly, play it in A flat by starting on DL4.
To play it in the key of F# major start it on E1.
- NOTE: This would be better fingered in half position. I did it this way because it makes more sense when using my beginner tab system.
Use the same fingering to play it in B major by starting on A1.
To play it in the key of E major start it on E0. Use the same fingering to play it in the upper octave of A major by starting on A0.
Whew! Remember, only try to play the tune in scales that you already know. Every time you learn a new scale, try to play Joy To The World on that scale.
Other tunes that you can easily transpose in the same way to all twelve keys:
- Bile ’em Cabbage Down
- Freres Jacques
- Oh Susannah
- Little Liza Jane
- Buffalo Gals
- Wabash Cannonball
- Hector the Hero
- Angeline The Baker
In this way, a tune is like an old friend that you keep visiting with over the years…