Can I set Dorico to NEVER display double flats?

Why not preface each multi-action with “Ctrl-2” or whichever mode you need? At worst, it would be a redundant keypress.

How about creating a custom Tonality System and only specify a single sharp and a single flat besides the natural? Downside is that you cannot use the short keys so that you have to select them manually (with the mouse) from the Key Signatures tab. Advantage is that you don’t have to do in the post-production!

I agree with this. It seems to me there are academic folks out there who look down their noses at arrangers/copyists who avoid using double flats and double sharps.

We are perfectly aware that simplifying these spellings (in most cases, not all cases) results in something that is not technically correct to a musicologist. (When the notes are basic tones or guide tones – i.e. root, 3rd, 5th, 7th – the “correct” spelling is not in dispute. But on color tones – the 8 other available pitches – the rules aren’t so clear cut.) But many of us live in a world where we actually want our music to be performed, and we may not have the luxury of a long rehearsal series to prepare. Sometimes the music is sight-read the first time in a live show on camera or before an audience. Many times, there are subs who have to step in to read the stuff.

So this is a request out of pragmatics for the working musicians out there.

I think an option to automatically respell double flats and double sharps is a very reasonable request and doesn’t sound terribly difficult. There is a similar situation that may not be quite as straightforward. Again this tends to come up more often in jazz than other genres because jazz can so quickly move through chord progressions. There are times when, for example, an Ab is followed immediately by a G#. Perhaps the chords are Bb13 and E7. It is incorrect to spell the second note as Ab. It is equally incorrect to spell the second chord as Fb7 because it might be a tritone substitution of Bb. I’m not sure there can be a good way to handle these situations automatically. I will either respell one of the notes or at least force cautionary accidentals so that both notes are explicitly indicated. Perhaps there could be an option that if two adjacent notes are enharmonically equivalent, automatically add cautionary accidentals so that both notes are explicitly indicated.

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I agree. Our band played a chart yesterday that was in B. I unabashedly wrote in such specimens as “C#/F” and “D#/G.”

Otherwise my bass player would have just looked at me and shook his head dolefully. :laughing:

If the dev team implements this, it would be nice if there was also an option to avoid augmented / diminished intervals in vocal lines if possible. I had an instance the other day of a descending figure in a vocal part where the music harmonically shifted from a c minor chord to A Major, but I altered the alto voice to descend from Eb to Db (rather than Eb to C#) to avoid a diminished interval which also changed accidental modifier; the altos would have never been able to read it correctly. It’s only one step but boy do you perceive it differently! I left the accompaniment part with the correct spelling but definitely wanted the “wrong” spelling in the vocal line.

There’s so much I’m starting to like about Dorico and I’m trying to get away from using Sibelius. However, this ‘double sharps and flats’ issue is a major one. In the real world of the working musician, double sharps and flats are avoided like the plague. Even Sibelius has the facility to not use them. When musicians have to sight read new arrangements, often under pressure of time as is often the case in TV, concerts, theatre and recording sessions, everything must be written for ease of reading. Double sharps and flats cause confusion and are always avoided. Without the facility to block them, it really renders Dorico unusable for me. I just don’t have the time to go through every score fixing them all.
PLEASE fix this problem ASAP.

I guess it really depends on context and what you mean by “working musician”. My organ music has double sharps and flats not infrequently and by-and-large it’s a non-issue, however, I am not sight reading organ music live (usually) in concert. That said, I definitely understand wanting to minimize their impact. As I mentioned above, avoiding them (as well as diminished intervals if possible) in vocal music is paramount too. I’ve met pleeeeeenty of university-trained vocalists who can’t sing difficult intervals. Heaven help them if theres a bb or ##. yeesh. Fortunately for all of us, it’s easy enough to fix these things whenever they crop up until something automatic is incorporated into the program.

I don’t think you really mean that literally.

If your singers think Ab is easier to read than G# here, to avoid a diminished interval, something has gone sadly wrong with music education somewhere :slight_smile:
no diminished intervals.png

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It depends what you are used to reading.

19th century keyboard music is usually in keys with a lot of accidentals in the key signature (because those keys are easier to play than C major, not harder!) and chords like B-double-flat major are not exactly rare. Respelling them as A major, or some weird hybrid notation that doesn’t even look like a major chord, isn’t going to benefit anyone IMO.

Keyboard players don’t “read notes”. They read groups of notes, both horizontally and vertically.

I know people for whom your example would be easier lol. This isn’t a hard case, ultimately. But my earlier example of mode-shifting would have required jumping from reading flats to sharps and an awkward interval (to read, not to sing). No one wants to sing Eb to C#. Eb to Db is much simpler. That’s the type of thing to which I’m referring.

I agree with Rob that double sharps and flats are not inherently bad. If you’re singing in G# minor, do you really want to sing a lower-neighbor leading tone as G#–G natural–G#?? Ugh.

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I don’t disagree at all. I personally don’t have an issue with them. (And I think Rob’s example above doesn’t really provide a good real-world example of what I meant. I agree that his example should be notated the proper way.) When I sing I’m thinking in terms of intervals and my note’s relationship to the root of the chord (ie- I think in scale degrees).

My only point was that no one wants to sing diminished or augmented intervals that are spelled sharp to flat or flat to sharp (if it can be avoided). Notice too I’m speaking of singing, not playing an instrument, and I’m not intending to refer to very clear leading tones. I tell my choir all the time when there’s a harder note when looking at the page, it’s easy to sing if you know where you are ultimately landing (ie- the very next note). This applies whenever it’s a leading tone. It’s not the same when you are just singing a descending or ascending figure and to be theoretically correct you’re suddenly staring down odd intervals due to the underlying harmonic structure. That doesn’t help a singer at all.

That said, as I’ve expressed elsewhere on the forum, I don’t mind much when there are workarounds. I’m OK if Dorico doesn’t do everything automatically. If Dorico can have a setting to avoid this automatically, great! If not, it’s no skin off of my back; it’s very easy to fix notes manually on those occasions when this does pop up.


If you write it, they can learn it.

Welcome to the forum, Phil, and thanks for your feedback.

It’s been a long time since I surrendered the title of “World’s Leading Sibelius Expert” so it’s possible that I’m really having a brain fart here, but can you tell me where in Sibelius is an option to prevent the use of double sharps and double flats? The only thing I can think of is the option in the Transpose dialog to simplify accidentals. Is there something else I’m forgetting? (I expect there could well be!)

It’s not exactly on topic, but I reckon it’s also not entirely wrong in this context:
In my >50 years of making music, i have never, ever, encountered a triple sharp or a triple flat in any music I’ve played. I would welcome the possibility to exclude these theoretical oddities from anything I would compose, arrange or engrave.
On topic: when transcribing older music (renaissance, early baroque), it would be a good thing if double sharps and double flats could be made impossible as well (including E/B sharp and C/F flat). In some music, those just don’t occur (either).

Which brings me to another minor feature request (It has been requested before): a button/menu command/key command to just ‘respell’ a note, without having to calculate whether it’s ‘up’ or ‘down’. (S*** had that; I admit I liked it). Of course, it should skip spellings not pertaining to the music style or period. Which means in most cases you’d need to invoke this function only once per note, to change a sharp to a flat for example, never showing any of those moronic triple-sharps and triple-flats… I’m sorry to hurt anyone’s feelings if you’re fond of them :wink: .

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There’s a triple sharp in Alkan, “Etudes in all the minor keys”, Op 39 No 10. The F triple sharp is perfectly logical notation for a grace note on an E sharp 7 chord :slight_smile:

There are a few triple flats in Nikolai Roslavets’s first Piano Sonata, including a cautionary one(!). I have no idea why the Russian publisher "beamed " the double and triple flats together, though.

But having overdosed on the triple flats, the publisher “forgot” that the last chord in the right hand was supposed to be Cbb Ebb Gb, not C major :open_mouth:
Alkan triple sharp.png

Good old Alkan… poor man deserves much more attention than he gets. Some of his stuff is utterly incredible. (Fiendishly difficult too.) There’s a nice recording of Olivier Latry playing some of his pedal piano works on his original Erard… Very intense.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your response.
Your memory serves you very well. The option is indeed in the transpose area. However, in the event of an overload of double sharps and double flats, I would simply transpose up a tone and back down again with the option to not use doubles. It made life much easier. I would be very happy to have this facility on Dorico. However, an interesting point to note is that Sibelius seemed much less frequent in using doubles than Dorico appears to be.
The option to simply switch them off altogether would be heavenly!!!

I’ll talk to Michael, the developer who has done most of the work on transposition, what he thinks about the feasibility of adding such an option to Dorico’s own Transpose dialog in the future.

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