Adjusting Key Signatures in Dorico Pro 4 Without Altering Written Note Pitches

Hello Dorico community,

I’ve encountered a bit of a snag while inputting a score based on a physical sheet of music into Dorico Pro 4. Initially, I forgot to set the correct key signature and have now entered quite a bit of the music. When I try to update the key signature, Dorico automatically adds accidentals to maintain the actual pitches, which is not what I need. I want the written notation to stay the same as in the original sheet music, without any added accidentals due to the key change.

Is there a way to update the key signature in Dorico Pro 4 so that it affects only the key signature visually but does not alter the pitch symbols of the already written notes? Essentially, I need the visual display to match the original sheet music, not the concert pitch.

Any advice or tips on how to resolve this quickly would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Adding a key signature does not alter the pitches. When you entered them, forgetting the key signature was missing, you entered the notes as naturals. Dorico is preserving what you entered, so you will have to change those notes manually.

Dorico has an Edit > Filter option Filter By Pitch that would allow you to sharp or flat all of each pitch simultaneously.

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The simplest way is probably to use shift-i popover.

If, say, you intended Eb major, but wrote in C major, then all your Bb, Eb and Ab notes would now be showing naturals after you added the key signature.

Select the affected notes and do shift-i B=Bb, E=Eb, A=Ab and all those notes would be correctly repitched.

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Thank you for your suggestion; using the shift-i popover is indeed a quick solution.

However, I think the Dorico development team should consider adding a feature that allows for the key signature of the score to be changed while preserving the original visual display of the notes without altering their actual pitches. This is particularly important for those of us who use Dorico as a music notation tool, such as music teachers.

For example, if I adjust from A major (###) to D major (##), all the Gs automatically receive a sharp. But if the piece uses harmonic or melodic minor scales, there may be both G and G# present. According to the current processing method, all Gs would become G#, making it impossible to distinguish the original notes from the harmonic or melodic minor scales, requiring manual adjustments. This poses a challenge to our efficiency.

I hope Dorico will consider this in future updates to improve the flexibility and utility of the software.

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Dorico does not alter the original pitches, that is why it adds the accidentals when you change the key signature. To do otherwise would be utter madness.

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Janus, you are correct. Retaining the visual consistency indeed implies an actual change in pitch. Thank you for pointing out my mistake. Here’s the corrected perspective:

Indeed, using the shift-i popover is a swift solution. However, I believe the Dorico development team should consider adding a feature that allows the key signature to be changed while preserving the original visual display of the score. This would imply a change in actual pitch, which is crucial for those of us using Dorico as a music notation tool, particularly music teachers.

For instance, if I adjust from A major (###) to D major (##), all Gs would automatically be marked with a sharp. But if the piece uses harmonic or melodic minor scales, there might be both G and G# present. With the current method, all Gs would turn to G# (importantly, the notes already G# remain G# even after the key change), thus blending the original harmonic or melodic minor notes, which leads to manual adjustments—a challenge for our workflow efficiency.

I hope Dorico will consider this for future updates to enhance the software’s flexibility and practicality.

There is only so much effort the Development Team can devote to helping folks clean up their oversights. If one forgets to add a key signature before one starts, cleaning up the error is on the one who made the oversight. (Believe me, I’ve been there.)

How often do you encounter this situation?

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Another technique, if the notes are all supposed to be diatonic (no accidentals): You can select them all and Alt-down and -up to transpose them by a step and back, losing any accidentals in the process.

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From a compositional perspective and a music notation perspective, the needs are different. Dorico needs to consider both of these aspects.

Could you explain how the needs differ, please?

I’m pretty sure they do.,