Changing orginal guitar chords to a Capoed guitar chord

• Nov 4, 2013 - 19:45

I have recently created a score of music in the key of E major whereby the chords are set for the major key, I have been advised by the guitar players that they use capo 3, my guitar knowledge isn't great and so I don't know how to convert the chords to a capoed version. Is there a function or a plug-in that I can use to help convert the original chords into a capo 3 chord?? If Musescore doesn't have this function is there a guitar chord converter online that I can use instead????

any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated!!!


To best answer your question, we must first know why guitarists play "capo 3" (which perhaps justifies his request). Indeed a capo changes the notes played (so it is a transposition) but not the fingering required to play them. It is therefore in principle not necessary to specifically write a score for a position of the capo that automatically performs transposition.

With the capo at the third fret, notes are moved up 3 semitones - each fret raises a string's pitch one half step, or semitone.
So, to remain in E, chords must be transposed down 3 semitones.
For example, given the tonic, sub-dominant, and dominant seventh chords E, A, B7, and with the capo at the third fret a guitarist would finger a C#, F#, and G#7 chord to sound as in E major.

Capo placement at the third fret does seem a bit odd to me, as by moving the capo to the 4th fret, the guitarist would have it much easier fingering simple C, F, and G7 chords to play in the key of E major.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

thanks for the information, especially the last comment about capo 4 being a more simpler chords to use when playing in E major. I am not sure if they have even thought about using capo 4? But worth passing the information on, I assume by your answer that Musescore doesn't have a function capability to change the written chords into various capo chords. But I do appreciate your explanation as I didn't know each fret is a semitone.

Cheers again!!!

In reply to by barreaupearl

...can be transposed along with the score, assuming that the chords were entered correctly and recognized by MuseScore - for example, a flat in a chord name should appear as a flat, and not the letter 'b'.
In MuseScore, go to menu item: Notes / Transpose where you can either change key, or transpose by a specified interval.


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Although with the capo at the third fret: fingering E, A and B7 chords will produce chords sounding in G major (that is G, C and D7 chords). The capo transposing up a minor third.
This still seems a bit odd to me as G, C and D7 chords are not that difficult to play without using a capo at all.

With standard guitar tuning, playing in flatted keys (like E flat major, B flat major) is facilitated by the capo. It allows for open (unfretted) strings, and therefore easier chord fingerings (especially for beginners), rather than having to bar across the entire guitar neck using a finger.


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

It could be that they're tuning down a minor third to produce slacker strings for increased bending and then capoing back up to concert pitch.

That is a technique I have known some electric guitarists use.

It also imposes less strain on the neck, consequently many 12 string players tune down and then capo back up to concert pitch

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