How to Transpose Man of Sorrows

Hillsong Worship goes to the Key of D

This week our Facebook friend, Josh posted:  "I'd like to see one on Man Of Sorrows in D. I'd like to have my soprano lead it. But we can't find a way to get those verses to sound right with the electric lead."  Well, Josh, it's time to let that soprano loose.  Here's how you do it.

(Note: If you are unfamiliar with this song, learn it here first and don't forget my original post on how to transpose a song in under 5 minutes)

First things first: we have to convert our chords from the original key of F to the key of D.  Easy enough with the handy chart from our Transposing 101 lesson:

This makes our four verse chords : D G A Bm (not in that order).

While it might be tempting to play the open versions of these chords, you will lose the feel of the song.  If we only wanted to keep the same voicing, we could simply slide all our chords up 9 frets to the 10th.  This will work but it will make this heavy feeling groove sound like a nursery rhyme and that's no bueno.  Instead, we need to emphasize the same voicing while keeping the chords in the lower range of the guitar.  For the D chord, the trick is to switch the position of the 3rd in the chord.  For example, our F chord voicing goes 1 1 3.  To keep our D chord in the same range, we can voice it as  1 3 1.  Same notes different order.  With our other chords, rather than voicing them higher than the D we can drop them to the lower position like this:

This keeps all our chords in a similar range to the original song and therefore keeping the same feel.


Go ahead and give it a try.  As always I'll take questions and additional song suggestions in the comments section.

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for

How to Transpose Man of Sorrows

Login to post comments


Man of Sorrows

I've had success tuning a guitar specifically for this song to keep that low string, neck pickup tone. Tune down one step and don't use a capo as Hillsong does when in F (capo 1). Worked great, except for the guitar change which isn't always practical.