Concert E (4 sharps) appears as 7 sharps for Eb instruments, not 5 flats, and no way to switch (e.g., "j").

• Jan 9, 2017 - 04:38

I am trying to put Eb instruments into Db (5 flats), but when I put the score into Concert E, the Eb instruments are put into D# (7 sharps). Dragging 5 flats, with the control key changes the concert key, not the transposed key, to 5 flags. Is there a way to change from 7 sharps to 5 flats?

If no way currently exists, then either dragging 5 flats, with the control key, should put a single instrument onto that specific key (not the transposed equivalent) or using 'j' on a key signature should switch between sharps and flats for selected signatures.

Thank you,
Aaron Grosky


I dont know if this will help, and i dont have access to musescore at the moment (so I'm working from memory) but I have noticed that transposing instruments do not always have the correct default transposition. To check, right-click a measure in affected stave and select "staff properties". Look at the transposition settings. It might be set to an enharmonic equivalent of minor third, which is what I have occasionally seen. If so, change it to the correct transposition and hopefully that will fix it.
Good luck,

At least some saxophonists prefer 7 sharps to 5 flats since they are so much more accustomed to reading sharp keys than flat keys do the nature of the transposition for their instruments. So I wouldn't *assume* the people reading your music will prefer 5 flats. Still, there should indeed be a way to control this. This has come up before, no solution as yet.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So it is bascially about whether MuseScore allows to choose/toogle between B-Major/G#-minor (5#) and Cb-Major/Ab-minor (7b), F#-Major/D#-minor (6#) and Gb-Majoj/Eb-minor (6b), C#-Major/A#-minor (7#) and Db-Major/Bb-minor (5b), for transposing instruments in transposing pitch, right?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

That's how I see it. When it's come up before, we've discussed whether this might be a staff property, a score property, a program preference, or perhaps be specific to a given key signature, and there hasn't necessarily been a clear consensus. I lean toward staff property - if you want it for one key signature on this staff, you probably want it for all and would prefer not to have to set each individually if there are key changes. You might well want this "simplification" performed for some staves but not others, however.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I would prefer to have the inspector give an option such as "prefer flats" and "prefer sharps" or explicitly state/show the key options for each key signature on a staff so the user has better control. If you set it on the staff, then instrument changes may be stuck with undesirable results. Just for one example, alto saxophones commonly double flutes in Jazz ensembles and the 2 instrument performers have opposite preferences.

When transcribing I never know what I'm going to run into next. When I can't change the key I resort to making the key atonal for that section and then reinstating the key signature after I enter it, Then do the ole up/down thing to remove the maximum amount of accidentals. This is not preferred because of the abundance of mistakes that are left undiscovered and much more difficult to see after the fact.

In reply to by mike320

Good point about instrument changes. But consider, this would lead to the same issue you currently experience with horn & timpani parts where you need to explicitly set no key signature at each key change. I guess maybe it isn't quite as bad since you'll only need to set the option at key changes where this actually is relevant.

Workaround - with Concert Pitch ticked, enter Key Signature of E Major. Untick Concert Pitch - this leaves you with 7 sharps for the Eb instrument, of course. Now press F2, [Shift]F2.

Limitations - you need to repeat the trick if you switch back and forth in Concert Pitch. It also affects the whole score so could change other Key Signatures (e.g. changing the Bb trumpets from F# Major to Gb Major).

In reply to by underquark

Thank you. I accidentally ran into the Transpositon fix - F2, [Shift]F2- as you described. That appears to work for the key signature as Up-arrow, Down-arrow (or vise versa) does for accidentals. I shall probably use this solution since I rarely go into concert pitch.

If I understood your problem well (I don't have any experience with writing for Alto Sax), I tried following simple solution:

I repleaced the original transposition in staff properties (large sixte) to diminished septime. Now I get 5 b's in the Alto sax.

See the attachement.

Attachment Size
Alto Sax.mscz 6.3 KB

Hi all,

I run into the same problem. It was working fine in Musescore 1.3. Musescore 1.3 was capable of understanding "where you were". With "Concert Pitch" turned off, you could just drag 5b into the Alto-Saxophon stave and got D-flat major for the alto and it was of course shown as E major in concert pitch. With concert pitch turned on you got 5b in concert pitch.

Greetings, seequark

In reply to by seequark

Seems like a couple of problems with key signatures were introduced between 1.3 and the current version.

If one is dragging a key signature to a transposed instrument, MuseScore should have continued to assume that the dragged key signature was already transposed. Especially since, if one drags a key signature from a transposed instrument, MuseScore assumes that the signature is transposed. So, with the current release, if one drags a key signature from one place on a transposed staff to another, the key signature is changed. For example, if I drag 2 sharps (concert C) for a Bb instrument, and drop it elsewhere on the same staff, MuseScore places 4 sharps (concert D).

Thank you,

In reply to by Aaron Grosky

No, this was a problem in 1.3; the 2.0 is definitely an improvement for most cases. Ket signatures are considered concert pitch because that is what normally makes sense. The vast majority of scores there include a mixture of transpositions, and when you add a key signature, you are adding it to ask staves at once. And most likely you aren't thinking about any I've particular staff, more would MuseScore have any idea which staff you might be thinking about in order to transpose for it. So under normal circumstances the key signature needs to be applied at concert pitch.

That said, sure, there are unusual special cases where you might truly be wanting to add a key signature and be already thinking of one staff specifically rather than the key of the piece as a whole, and it would be nice if there a way to specify this. There has been some discussion of the topic and a proposed implementation for a new feature to address this concern. See #28376: Request method to specify that key signature being added is already transposed

Btw, I don't understand what you mean about dragging an existing key signature from one place to another. That is not a supported operation in MuseScore.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sorry about not responding in a timely manner.

I was referring to dragging a key signature from the palette. I deal with instrument changes where a reed player switched between instruments in different keys. Ideally, MuseScore would add the key change as part of the instrument change, but (for now anyway) that is a feature request that is not as simple as it sounds. Far too often, when I add the key signature to that one staff (at some point before the new instrument is to be used), I too often grab the transposed key instead of the concert key.

I am now using OS: Windows 10 (10.0), Arch.: x86_64, MuseScore version (64-bit):, revision: 3224f34 (and have been for a while).

I find that much has been improved. I note that the staff properties now has a "prefers" option. Thank you!

In reply to by Aaron Grosky

Indeed, much has changed in the last three years! Several options now exist to control this. In Staff/Properties, you can set a preference as you discovered. But you can set the transposition itself by instrument well, thus getting the notes as well as key signatures to transpose as desired. And, key changes are added automatically as needed when you add instrument changes. At least it works that way normally. if you're still having trouble, best to attach your score and describe when you are having problems. Then we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I've been doing a lot of big band arranging and composing. MuseScore is a great tool for what I do. I get professional-looking parts.

Since 3.5, I haven't created any scores with instrument changes so I haven't seen the automatic support feature (yet!). I did have a little trouble up-leveling scores with instrument changes from earlier versions, but I was able to work around the problems easily enough. In summary, I don't think I'm discussing any problems that require a solution. When I next up-level a V2 or V3 score with instrument changes into V3.6 or later, I'll keep careful records in case an up-leveling problem does still exist.

I've attached the 1st reed part. Previously, I had two version of the part, one for Alto only and one for Alto/Flute. When I up-leveled the score (I think I up-leveled directly it into 3.6, not first into 3.5), the instrument changes in the reeds had to be corrected - I think they were kept, but the change to the flute had the saxophone key. I've attached one of the parts from that score. With 3.6, I combined each pair of parts into one. I don't know if I used a new feature to hide the flute staves which are all rests or if I've just learned to use an older feature, but I think MuseScore did a fantastic job with the formatting.

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