Custom key sig with C clef on lowest line

I need to be able to create a key signature in the form of the attached .png.

In the Key key signature dialogue there is no provision for a C clef on the lowest line.
Screenshot 2021-12-13 at 20.27.38

You should be able to create the Key Sig in any Clef and it should adjust properly when the Clef is changed.

@Craig_F is correct. Sorry I initially misunderstood your request.

Custom Key Signature

JanSteele, use the popover for clefs Shift-C
Then type C-1-Enter

(C is for C-Clef, 1 is for 1st line)

The use of the popover gives you more possibilities than the clef panel.

But (as John pointed out in his first now deleted response) this clef is also found in the Archaic Clefs section of the panel.

Genuine question: is anyone going to actually attempt to use this antiquated edition?

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Yes. I and others play from such clefs frequently.


I for one get nostalgic for moveable clefs - why have we dumbed it down so much? In the right clef your range should be represented entirely by the five lines of the stave - it was a great system!

Ok I will have another go. Thank you all for your help.
Romanos401. Once you get used to it, the moveable C clef is incredibly useful, although unfortunately it is now only for the initiated. I’m not convinced about the baritone clef though, I find it incredibly confusing, and I was relieved when I read R.O. Morris’s comments about it in his Score-Reading primer.

I remember the first time I got called in to sing for ‘a particular London choir’: it was some Gabrieli (or similar) mass for 3 choirs, one to a part, all in different C clefs (except the basses). Trying to pitch my notes off the others parts was extra brain work that I could have done without, on a Sunday morning!

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After all this clef is a c clef, so no confusion, where to find the notes.
A practical example from the 17th century:
If you have learnt to play the violin with the „soprano“ c clef on the first line, you will be able to switch to the viola and its „alto“ c clef on the middle line without further thinking… and vice versa
Most of the vocal solos of that time are notated with the soprano c clef btw.

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It was certainly practical and a great way to avoid ledger lines, especially for the period where movable type was employed. That said, it’s just a bit too much for me.

I’m already accompanying our choir (regularly on organ which has its own mental overhead between pedals and multiple keyboards), reading two clefs (or more, in the case of open scores without reductions), and usually trying to sing the tenor part while I do so, often in Latin, so the last thing I need is to throw more clefs I to the mix. My poor brain is already on overdrive. I’ve been handed old editions of Bach organ music that use alto and tenor clefs and I’ve just had to say ‘no’.

It was Schumann, I believe, who made a comment about how important it is to know how to read old clefs, since they be unlock the music of the past. In that sense, I believe he is right, but it does feel unnecessary to me now that we’ve standardized to fewer. (Or rather, it seems appropriate to know how to decode them, but not necessary to actually be proficient enough to process them in real time.)

It just seems risky to me, at least where average singers are concerned. My choir would have a collective heart attack if I put this in front of them. (I’ve already made them learn to be proficient in Gregorian notation, though, so perhaps they wouldn’t be all that surprised, lol. :sweat_smile: )

Be glad you don’t have to read organ tablature as well! It truly shines a light on the genius of Bach and his contemporaries that they could cope with it all.

For the individual singers though - it was great - they used to just swap the clefs out and bingo - you transpose up or down a fourth or third to fit the voices you have.

I’ve found that with some practice copying them out I get faster and faster at the different clefs - I’ve been doing a lot of French violin clef (G1), which is basically the bass clef transposed up three octaves…

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About this, we couldn’t agree more. They truly were geniuses of the very first order.

As for organ tablature, I was once shown the basics of how to decode it in a musicology class… And I can happily report that I forgot what little I knew very quickly, lol.

For sure - sadly I have never learned that particular skill.

It also highlights how we’ve moved collectively from a part book centric system to score reading - we expect to be able to reduce see everything at once and be able to relate one part to another at a glance. Not a qualitative observation but an interesting swing in priorities, and with the computer/mathematical age, a swing towards rhythmical exactitude… etc etc faux musicological waffle etc

One time I did try and make my choir read individual parts as an experiment (I’ve heard of one choir director who swears by it) but they hated it. They needed cues from the other parts to stay on track.

I do know there is a group of either Dutch or Danish organists who use a modern tan for organ music, but I think it’s a relatively obscure/small movement (someone can correct me on that). They produce new editions in tab and swear that it’s great, but it strikes me as odd.

Yeah – They still get the cues, but aurally! It engenders a whole different level of listening.

Well and good for voices, but try writing Paganini or Liszt without leger lines …

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I understand the concept, and I rather enjoyed the experiment. I, however, was vastly out numbered. No sense driving my own choir to mutiny. I plan on trying the experiment again with something they know relatively well. Considering it was the only way singing happened for centuries, it certainly seems like we should be able to do it now! And I totally agree about the ear thing. It forces you to really know your own part in a much more thorough way.

Hi John, this is what I’m after. Getting a C clef where I want it isn’t the problem - the issue is the non standard arrangement of the flat signs. I can do that in the Custom Key Signatures dialogue, but in that dialogue I can’t work out how to get a soprano C clef. How did you do it?

To create the custom key signature, I used the treble clef in the Edit Custom Key Signature dialog and put three flat accidentals on the third line, the second space and the fourth space. I then applied the custom key signature to a grand staff instrument. When I replaced the treble and bass clefs with the soprano and tenor clefs, the positions of the flats in the key signature automatically adjusted to compensate.