User Manual


If you're a guitarist, you know the advantages to using a capo. You can increase the pitch of your guitar to provide dynamics between other instruments, or simply transpose out of difficult to play keys like D-flat. Whatever your reason, OnSong can adapt the chord chart to meet your needs. Let's take a look at how OnSong handles capo in regard to transposition.

Difficult Keys

OnSong is designed to maintain the designated key of a song at all costs. This is important to know because changing the capo of the song will not transpose the song. Instead, it combines the transposition with the capo itself. Let's take a song written in D-flat as an example.

  1. You have a song that is written in D-flat because your pianist is fancy like that.
  2. You want to be able to play the song, but sadly you don't have fingers like E.T.
  3. Figuring you can play the song with C chord forms instead, you apply a capo to your guitar on the first fret.
  4. In OnSong, you simply slide the capo slider in the Style Preferences Menu to the first fret so it knows where you put your capo.
  5. OnSong now maintains the key of D-flat, but displays chords in the key of C so you can play along with everyone else.

In this case, we didn't transpose the song at all, but just wanted to be able to play the song in the key that it is written. OnSong modulates the chords in the song down to maintain the key - essentially reversing the transposition that the capo applies.

Transposing With Capo

What if we want to use the capo slider to transpose the slider? What you'll need to do is adjust the key and the capo. Lets say that you have a song in the key of C and want to transpose to D. With a capo, you'd place the capo on the second fret. In OnSong, adjust the capo from zero to the 2 position and then drag the transpose slider to the D key.

This underscores that transposition in OnSong is one step, and then capo is applied on top of that transposition. The order of operations are:

  1. The song is written and declared in a specific key.
  2. If the song's key is not declared, the key is determined using another detection method
  3. Tranposition is then applied to the original key. If the original key was the key of A and we want to play the song in the key of D, OnSong would transpose up by five (5) half steps to bring the song to the key of D.
  4. Now when we want to play with a capo so we can play in the key of C. Set the capo to 2. OnSong then modulates the chords that are rendered down two (2) half steps to the key of C.

Toggling Capo

You can also toggle the capo on and off in the Style Preferences Menu using the power button. This is useful for playing with or without a capo as your needs arise.

Learning to Share

Since OnSong changes the chords that appear on the screen when capo is applied, sharing with others may be more difficult. What if you both need to use the same chord chart? In this case, you can display both chords.

To enable dual capo chord mode, go into Settings » Display Settings » Song Formatting » Capo » Display Dual Chords. This can be configured to display either the capoed or non-capoed chord first with the other chord being displayed in parenthesis.

OnSong 2023 — Last Updated on October 17, 2017