Impossible to put a 6-flat Key Signature on b-flat Clarinet (and b-flat Bass Clarinet)

• Jun 21, 2017 - 10:25


I tried when creating a new score, and using the Palette, same problem.




You can put in 6 flats. Enter the key signature from the palette of 4 sharps to get 6 sharps. Right click the staff and select staff properties. Change the transposition to 1-minor second and click apply (key changes to 1 flat). Change the transposition to 2-DIminished Third and click OK.

In reply to by mike320

Ok, I tried this, but it modifies the whole score, I only have the last part in 6-flats, the first part is only 1 flat.

Furthermore, it doesn't changes the key signature to 6 flat on the score.

Normally, in clarinet b-flat, when I want 1 flat as a key signature, I select 3 flats and MuseScore translates it perfectly to 1 flat.

Is it a bug that I can't do this to get 6 flats ?



In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Actually, it should work with 7 sharps ! It puts 3 flats instead, which is also wrong !

6 sharps gives 4 flats !

5 sharps gives 7 sharps, good.
4 sharps gives 6 sharps, good.

On the other side :

7 flats gives 5 flats, good.
6 flats gives 4 flats, good.

So, in final :

7 sharps and 6 sharps don't translate correctly on the score key signature for b-flat instruments, unless I'm totally wrong !



In reply to by

After you follow my previous directions, rather than click OK, click apply, then change the transpose to 2-Major Second. The 6 flats should remain. If any of the other key signatures change, then simply reapply those right where they are, do not reapply the 4 sharps where you want the 6 flats in the clarinet.

In reply to by mike320

Here is a pictoral explanation that should help

Right click the clarinet staff and select staff properties

6 flats 1a.png

Next select 1 - minor second

6 flats a.png

and click apply and notice the key change

6 flats b.png

Next select 2-Diminished third

6 flats c.png

click apply and notice the key change

6 flats d.png

next select 2-Major second and Click OK

6 flats e.png

Notice the clarinet still has 6 flats at the key change.

In the final picture notice in my score the only key that changed was the B-flat clarinet, not shown is that in the key I used, the clarinet did not change key signatures from 3 flats in the other place. If any other key changes happen in the clarinet, go to where the original key change happened and insert the correct key change again in the same place as you did the first time.

In reply to by

It's not exactly a bug, but a limitation. Clarinets would not normally be written in a key signature of six flats, because that would mean the concert key would have eight flats. This would virtually never happen - the concert key would be E, not Fb. And that translates into F# for clarinets. Although technically the clarinet part could be written in either F# or Gb, many would recommend using F#, for two reasons:

1) most clarinet players are more accustomed to reading sharps than flats, because of the nature of the transposition for their instrument

2) it's potentially confusing - and could lead to intonation issues - for everyone else in the ensemble to be in a sharp key but have one instrument in the enharmonic flat key

That said, sure, an option to allow these sorts of key signatures would be a good enhancement some day. We could add an eight flats key signature to the palette, or we could add options to "simplify" keys on transposition.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok Marc, for an orchestra (or ensemble) I get the idea of complexity etc.

I got the "New York, New York" (yup, the Frank Sinatra...), by Kander and Ebb. And whoever transposed it for the clarinet (in another software I suppose) has it with 1 flat for measures 1 to 51, and 6 flats for measures 52 to 70.

Since I decided to only use MuseScore (I tried lilypond et other software before), I have an issue when trying to enter 6 flats. Not a biggy, I'll use paper instead of the the iPad for a while longer for those special cases ...

Hopefully, some solution will emerge sometime soon.

Cheers and keep up the good work guys,


In reply to by

Hmm, well, no reason to copy their questionable choice - why not just enter the music in the more usual key of F#? Or, depending on your reason for entering this in the first place, just turn on Concert Pitch mode and enter the notes as if the clarinet were not a transposing instrument.

Still, the solution posted above should work. Another method: select the region, Notes / Transpose, and do the same basic process. Then you won't have to fix the other key signatures. I I just tried it with minor second up followed by augmented unison down and it worked perfectly. You just have to be careful not to then toggle concert pitch on and off or you'll lose that customization.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I know this is an old thread, but just to give an example of why I need 6/7 flats for clarinet... I am a band teacher trying to make a scale sheet that includes every key signature for every instrument. Yes, a Cb scale is performed the same as a B scale, but a solo festival judge is allowed to ask for either so I would prefer to be able to prepare students for either scenario. Additionally, when studying F#/Gb major, many students prefer to think of the scale as 6 flats rather than 6 sharps, but I am not able to intuitively build a scale using 6 flats.

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