Change accidental respelling behavior upon Key change

• Mar 11, 2016 - 15:35
S5 - Suggestion
by design

Moving notes down and changing the key signature generates notes that have sharp accidentals instead of being moved up when there is only one semitone interval to the next note.

Open the attached score. Select all notes and go down 4 semitones. Then change the key siganture to A flat major (4 flats) and check to see if it has the same amount of accidentals as the original score. What I'm seeing is that a lot of new sharps are appearing.

Attachment Size
Si_era_la_ora_a_sasea.mscz 31.26 KB


Status (old) active needs info

First, it is *not* going to be the case that the series of steps you describe yields the sasme number of accidentals. The Down command *changes* accidentals, always respelling using flats as you go down (whereas Up respells using sharps). If your goal is to preserve the original spellings, you need to use the Notes / Transpose, not up & down, which are actually specifically intended to help you spell things with flats or sharps as specified (eg, G Down spells Gb, but F Up spells as F#, when in the key of C).

Anyhow, I don't see any sharps at all after following your steps, nor would I expect to. I see only flats and naturals, as I should. Can you be more specific about which note you think is spelled incorrectly?

What should - and does, for me - happen is that four presses of the Down key transposes everything down four semitone *and* spells all resulting accidentals using flats. When you change the key to Ab, the spellings of the notes are preserved. So in both respects, everything seems to be working as it should.

Marc, here is another way to reproduce it : Create a new staff in C major, add a note to the staff, then change the key to 7 flats. The key signature will add a natural to the note, but if you select the note and press up and then down the note will move to the higher one and will lose the accidental, but it will have the same pitch as before.
Should the key signature change do this automatically?

Not sure why you're seeing this as a bug. Pressing up and then down is not expected to end up in the same state as where you started; regardless of whether you do this after changing a key signature or not.
Pressing up and down is not the same as pressing up and undo!

You're explicitly asking MuseScore to respell the accidentals, first up using sharps, then down again using flats. If your starting situation wasn't spelled using flats, then you now have a respelled score which contains pitch-equivalent notes.

[EDIT] Sorry, I only now realize you're asking whether changing the key signature should auto-respell. Probably you're thinking along the lines of respell to flats if new key has flats. Respell to sharps if new key has sharps.
Although possible I'm not sure if it would be desired. To me (a decent amateur composer) it would be more confusing to see double-accidentals appearing rather than seeing a natural respell on the same staffline, but that might just be me :)

I am not understanding. What note are you adding? When I follow your instructions, I get exactly what I expect: eg, moving a "D" up produces Eb (no accidental needed); moving it back down produces Ebb which is correct for that key.

Title Key signature does not update note properly Change accidental respelling behavior upon Key change

What you're asking is a different way of respelling accidentals upon applying a key change. The way MuseScore currently handles the respelling (correctly!) is the way that affects the original spelling the least as far as I can tell. For me, that is also the most desired state. Therefor this is not a bug report but a feature request to alter that behavior.

Refer to the attached picture with a starting situation, followed by the current logic applied by MuseScore, then the respelling by arrow keys and lastly a manual respelling closer resembling what you're requesting.

Also note that MuseScore has a respell pitches command that might suit your preferences better ( The current implementation has my preference though.

Attachment Size
101656_accidentals_keysig.png 33 KB
Status (old) needs info by design

Indeed, changing key is *not* supposed to change notes. That's what the transpose function is for. Different tools for different jobs. Things are working as they are designed to work, and need to work if we are to allow people to change key without changing notes, which is very often desired. If you want notes changed, use transpsoe. If you don't, then simply change the key signature. This is a good thing. Changing them both to do the same thing would be a step backwards - it would elimiante the possibility to change keys without changing spelling.