How to add a key signature after a clef change?

• Oct 12, 2021 - 23:38

In the example image below, the first line is professionally typeset, and the second line is my attempt to emulate it. It is pretty good, except I cannot figure out how to put key signatures after the small clefs (clef changes). I would be grateful for any assistance.

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example.png 102.98 KB


You say the first example was professionally typeset - by which publisher? As far as I know, that's not standard at all; I don't think I've actually ever seen a publisher repeat a key signature like that. So unless the goal is to submit your work to that same publisher, I wouldn't necessarily be in a hurry to reproduce that notation.

But if I did need to, I'd probably add the clef, then add the key signature manually using the Symbols palette (press Z to display). Another possibility if it's truly just this one staff would be to split the measure at that point (see Tools / Measure), hide the barline, then add the clef and key normally.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This is pretty much standard notation for partimenti, where clef changes happen very often, since everything is written on one staff. You can see this in pretty much any old or modern edition of partimenti. The one in my example above happens to be by the Oxford University Press.

Unfortunately, the notation is non-negotiable, the person I am doing this for requires it to be this way, so I'm just trying to figure out the simplest, most elegant way to do it (it happens about 50 times throughout the score).

The split measure trick works great when the clef change is mid-measure. Thank you for that! But it does not work when the clef change is at the beginning of a measure (see the bass clef in the example above), since the measure cannot be split on the first beat.

Could you please give me a bit more details on adding the key signature manually? When I try to do that, the key signature is moved before the new clef, and it is displayed in the old clef (as shown in the next example). Also, the spacing is all incorrect.

For reference, I have also provided the same measure from an 18th century edition, the notation is the same.

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example2.png 42.6 KB
example_ancient.png 132.85 KB

In reply to by kresimir

I see, thanks for the info - partimenti is a term I only heard for the first time yesterday, by some strange coincidence! So I'm not familiar with its unique conventions.

By adding manually, I mean, adding using the Symbols palette to add individual accidentals to the first note after the clef, and then positioning them manually as well. If this happens a lot, you could probably pre-compose each of the needed key signatures by add accidentals to each other and positioning them relative to the first. Then you could add the whole collection to a palette and easily apply it in a single click, and only have to position the whole collection. It's still not very elegant, I'm afraid.

The trick of adding both clef and key and playing with their offsets is probably the better way to go, just a little scary to me as I suspect it won't survive a lot of reformatting.

I'd add both clef and key signatures normally, then work with their X-offset and negative leading space to swap them visually. The upside of having them in there "for real" instead of as symbols is that it increases the chances to retain them when exporting to different formats.

See attached.

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325428-swap-key-and-clef.mscz 4.87 KB

In reply to by jeetee

But when you do that, it shows a wrong key signature. On the first clef change, it should be F# and C# (D major) in the treble clef, but since the key signature is still in bass clef (being swapped from before the treble clef) now it looks like it's D# and A#, which is obviously wrong. And on the second clef change, the key signature swapped place with the bass clef, but before it was in the treble clef, so now it looks like it is A# and E#, instead of F# and C#.

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example3.png 21.81 KB

In reply to by jeetee

Oh yeah, that makes sense, thanks! :-)

One more thing, how do you know which numerical values for X-offset values and negative leading to choose? It's different for different numbers of sharps and flats. I could just eyeball it, I guess, but my concern is that that would potentially be inconsistent and that these tiny inconsistencies, which are not immediately obvious could just make the score look ugly overall for no obvious reason.

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