Aug 17 - Key Changes in Chord Charts

If your chord charts ever change keys somewhere in the middle, you'll love today's update. There are now two new codes to change keys in the middle of a song, in addition to the old way which is no longer recommended (but still supported).

Transpose Key

If you want PCO to do all the work for you, look no further than TRANSPOSE KEY. You enter your entire chord chart in the same key, then insert TRANSPOSE KEY +1 anywhere you'd like, and the following chords are tranposed 1 half-step up. You can use positive or negative numbers to define how many half-steps higher or lower you want to go.

We've added a shortcut to insert this code from the options menu of the chord chart creator. Just click it and change the number of steps if needed.

The editor on the left is entirely in E, but after using TRANSPOSE KEY +1 the preview on the right takes all the chords up to F.

Redefine Key

If you've already entered your chord chart with a key change, and you wrote the chords for each key already, you'll want to use REDEFINE KEY. Though you might not know it, you'll want to do this for 2 reasons. First, you'll get a new header where the key changes showing what the new key is. Second, if anyone downloads a Number chart, the numbers need to reset back to 1 at each new key. Even if you don't specifically enable a number chart, your users can still use the Quick Transpose feature to get to it anyway, so it's a good idea if you account for that possibility. 

Like Transpose Key, you add a positive or negative number to specify the direction and amount of half-steps to transpose.

The chords in the editor on the left start in E and then go up to F. By using REDEFINE KEY, the preview on the right now knows that F is 1 in the new key of F, instead of b2 in the original key of E.

The Old Way

Before this update, you could partially change keys by inserting the code KEY CHANGE ENDING KEY. It didn't actually transpose anything, it just changed whether the following chords used sharps or flats, by looking at the "Ending Key". The problem is, you can potentially create many keys for your arrangement, each with a different ending key, and when you're editing a chord chart, it doesn't know which of those ending keys to look for, so it doesn't work inside the chord editor at all. The two new ways do work in the editor and even give you more options. This old way will continue to work, but we recommend using Transpose Key or Redefine Key for new charts you make.

Choosing Keys

In order for our two new codes to work, we had to choose one version of every enharmonic. For example, when going up a half-step from D, is the new key D# or Eb? To solve this, we defined a scale where we chose the simplest or most popular option. Admitedly that can be a bit subjective, but we think it will work in most cases. We used the following scale: Ab A Bb B C Db D Eb E F F# G. 

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