Accidentals after a key signature change

Hi - Hopefully a simple question but I’ve searched in the manual without success:

In an empty project, if I enter a G, then raise its pitch by a semitone, it is displayed as an A flat.
If I then change the key signature to three sharps, the note remains as A flat, but I would have expected it to be changed to a G sharp.
If I subsequently move the pitch of the note down and up a semitone, it is written as a G sharp.

Is there a way to have these spellings changed automatically when the key signature changes? It would take a lot of effort to change them all manually in a longer piece.

In Note Input Options, ‘Allow spelling of notes to be adjusted retrospectively’ is checked.

Thank you…

Adding a key signature doesn’t transpose the music, but if you select the music after adding the key signature, you can transpose it via Write > Transpose. You might find that transposing it by a unison interval but choosing the option to simplify accidentals gives the expected result; otherwise, transpose it up a step and then back again.

Hi - thanks for the reply - I tried both methods (transposing by unison and 2nd intervals) but it stayed as an A flat. (Went to B flat then back to A flat in case of the 2nd.) That A flat looks very strange in a sharp key signature, when adding the same note after the change would lead to it being shown as a G sharp.

I can’t make transpose do this fix but selecting all the notes and using the keyboard shortcut to take the pitch up and down a semitone would be a way to sort this for a longer passage, I suppose.

I’m probably missing something obvious but I can’t understand why changing the key signature wouldn’t make these changes automatically. Changing the time signature rearranges everything so it is as it would be if the new time signature was originally entered, so why not for the key signature?

Why not add the key sig before changing the G up a semitone? Then Dorico knows what spelling you want.

But if you insist on doing this before entering the key sig, after raising the G a semitone and it comes out Ab, hit - to respell downwards to G#. Problem solved.

I think part of the problem is the software knowing when to stop changing things.

Suppose you have a 100 bar flow and you want to change the key signature from bars 50 to 55. When you insert a new key signature in bar 50, how much music do you want Dorico to respell? Maybe you want the second KS change in bar 55 to accurately respell everything back again after bar 55 back again. But what if there are several KS changes before you get back to the original key?

Rewriting rhythms is different because the notation and engraving options specify a unique way to notate the music, so it is guaranteed that the same time signature will produce the same notation. But in tonal music in G major, there are situations where both G sharp and A flat are the “correct” spelling for a note (e.g. a secondary dominant chord of E, or a Neapolitan chord of A flat)

Thanks for the replies, Craig and Rob.

My question was about how to avoid making manual changes to an extended passage. The procedure in my 3rd post does do this though.

  1. When to end the changes: when the KS changes again.
  2. Dealing with exceptions: It would be far quicker to change the rare exceptions manually than all the others!
    Your point that this is not an unambiguous rule like TS changes is a good one and was in the back of my mind.

I’m still an inexperienced Dorico user and it’s been interesting to work this through.

Hi all - at the risk of overlabouring this point, I was thinking about why it happened and it was because of the use of tab in this part.

You can imagine a common workflow where you are entering notes directly into tab and then sorting the stave out afterwards - adding the key signature at that point only to find that you’ve got to shift all the notes manually to get the accidentals right.

That’s how I encountered this in the first place, and thought it was worth mentioning as this workflow has only been possible since the release of Dorico 3 with its support for tab.

It looks like now I’m working with Dorico, I have the same problem. I often want to decide the key signature after inputting the notes. Practical example: I transcribed a piano piece by ear into C# major. Later I was told that pianist prefers it in Db major. If I just change the key signature, I’m left with a whole lot of work. Previously in Sibelius I would use a “Simplify Accidentals” in a selected zone of my choice to sort this. Is there nothing equivalent in Dorico?

Enter the key signature as C#. Then transpose the music and the key signature into Db.

In Write > Transpose, set the right hand panel as “from C#” and “to Db” and click apply. Then Dorico works out for itself whether you want to transpose up or down by an augmented or diminished unison, which saves you having to think about it!

It’s a diminished second, actually :wink: Anyway, that’s why the right hand panel comes in handy!

Thanks Rob & Peter! That worked fine!