Reaper: Piano Roll – Transpose to Create Chords

Creating chords in Reaper:

Getting started with any DAW is a challenge to start with, doing so with limited or no musical theory makes this challenge extra erm..

The following screenshots and descriptions should hopefully do two things:

  1. Help you understand chords in a key
  2. Show you a quick way to enter those chords into Reaper

To do this we are going to draw our first chord and then use Transpose to edit that chord.

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New to Reaper and Piano Roll?

Please read this article first.

Reaper: Insert VST and New Midi Item

First let’s add a chord:

We are going to create the C Major Chord as below – in the illustration you will see that ‘key snap’ is engaged. For this tutorial that is not required:


Ctrl + A = Select All

T = Transpose

W = Rewind

(space) = Play

With the chord above entered we can now start to play around with transposing to other chords:

First select all = Ctrl + A and press ‘T’ to open the Transpose pop up.

For our purposes we are going to leave ‘semitones’ selected and we are going to tick ‘Snap to scale’ – this will keep our edits in line will the key we want to maintain.

In this case – chords from C Major.

By default it is set to C Major – check that is the case.

Chords of C Major:

We already have C Major created.

To ‘Transpose’ to a Dm we can do the following.

Type 2 into the box between ‘Semitones’ and Snap to scale – following the settings below this creates a D Minor chord – the 2nd chord in the key of C Major.

You can see the edit go live – if you click ‘OK’ this will commit to the transposed chord – if you click cancel it will revert back.


Note: This will only work if you are starting off with a C Major Chord – transposing from any other chord will create different outcomes – this tutorial is for students and/or beginners new to creating chords in Reaper’s piano roll.

To create more chords from th key of C we can use the following numbers.

2 = Dm

4 = Em

5 = F

7 = G

9 = Am

11 = B dim


You can do this for any key – but you have to create the first chord:

Also don’t forget to change ‘To scale’ – make sure it is the same.

ie Key of D – D Major Chord – ‘To scale’ = D Major and so on.

Key of D = D Major Chord

Key of E = E Major

Key of F = F Major

Key of G = G Major

Key of A = A Major

Key of B = B Major

We use this to learn chords and use them in our compositions.

Chords by key to experiment transposing:

Key of C:

C Major – D Minor – E Minor – F Major – G Major – A Minor – B Diminished

Key of G:

G Major – A Minor – B Minor – C Major – D Major – E Minor – F# Diminished

Key of D:

D Major – E Minor – F# Minor – G Major – A Major – B Minor – C# Diminished

Key of A:

A Major – B Minor – C# Minor – D Major – E Major – F# Minor – G# Diminished

Key of E:

E Major – F# Minor – G Minor – A Major – B Major – C# Minor – D# Diminished

Key of B:

B Major – C# Minor – D# Minor – E Major – F# Major – G Minor – A# Diminished

Key of F:

F Major – G Minor – A Minor – Bb Major – C Major – D Minor – E Diminished

Key of Bb:

Bb Major – C Minor – D Minor – Eb Major – F Major – G Minor – A Diminished

Key of Eb:

Eb Major – F Minor – G Minor – Ab Major – Bb Major – C Minor – D Diminished

Key of Ab:

Ab Major – Bb Minor – C Minor – Db Major – Eb Major – F Minor – G Diminished

Key of Db:

Db Major – Eb Minor – F Minor – Gb Major – Ab Major – Bb Minor – C Diminished

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