Key signature problem

• Jun 29, 2015 - 15:16

Pardon me if there's a simple solution to this, but here goes --

On an orchestra score with a movement in B major (5 sharps), B-flat clarinets should be in D-flat major (5 flats).

But the score I'm writing insists on respelling the clarinet part to C-sharp major (7 sharps). That key is difficult to read, and particularly annoying for session musicians that have an hour to record a piece. D-flat major is very common, of course.

(I noticed that when I first created the score, the clarinets were, indeed, in D-flat. It wasn't till I'd closed and opened the score again that they'd flipped to 7 sharps.)

How can I give the clarinets a D-flat major key signature while the flutes, strings, etc., are in B major?

Thanks for any advice.


Ctrl-drag the corresponding key sig into the staves that should have it.
Hmm, actually it seems you'd need to use Cflat Major (7 flats) to actually get 5 flats

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

When I do that, it changes all the key signature for the whole score into flat keys. Furthermore, the clarinet part doesn't go to the D-flat major, it goes to E-flat major, while the instruments that should be in B-major (flutes, etc.) flip to D-flat major.

FWIW, do you play clarinet, or have you checked with clarinet players? I am not so sure about your assumption that 7 sharps is harder than 5 flats for people who play transposing instruments. Clarinet players are very used to seeing sharps, and less accustomed to seeing many flats, because the transposition normally adds sharps / substracts flats. Db major might be very common as a concert pitch key, but for them, that's Eb major. That's about as many flats as they often see, but they are are very accusotmed to see lots of sharps - more than players of non-transposing instruments. I played clarinet, but long enough ago that I don't have much first hand experience to draw from. But I can say the clarient and saxophone players I work worth almost universally seem to do better with lots of sharps than lots of flats, because they so rarely see lots of flats. But perhaps the players you work with feel differently.

Anyhow, I have elsewhere proposed an option to control transposition of key signatures - see and feel free to weigh in!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for that important comment. I do not play clarinet (piano and years ago, French horn), and did not know that clarinet players really are not hampered by sharp-keys. If someone had called this to my attention earlier there are a number of scores I wouldn't have labored quite so much over. The irony is that this particular score is being written for a Belgian group whose conductor is virtuoso clarinetist.

In reply to by kentfx

Well, I do think it would be interesting to hear from more actual players of these instruments. My guess is that while most might prefer sharps to flats simply because they have become accustomed to them, others will feel differently. So I do want to implement some sort of option to control this. But yeah, I kind of suspect you might be worrying unnecessarily :-)

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