Different clefs in Full Score and Parts

I have a need for a single player to have different clefs in her part compared to the full score. The full score is to have alto clef for a viola but the part is to be transcribed for a cello at pitch, hence needing bass and tenor clefs, as demanded by the pitch.

Is there a way of putting a clef in a player’s part without it also appearing in the full score?

This would also be useful for Urtext/Performing editions. For example baroque keyboard parts were often written using using C clefs on various lines of the staff (to minimize the number of leger lines), but a modern performing edition would obviously use G and F clefs instead, and the notes would be identical.

I suppose this could be handled (eventually!) by user-defined instruments, similar to the current bass clarinet using treble clef in a transposing part but bass clef in a non-transposing score, and similar examples.

I’m probably missing something obvious, but I just realized my bass clarinet parts show the same clef in both transposed and concert pitch view. I’ve tried changing instruments to all three of the bass clarinet options (default, bass clef full score, and sounds 8vb), but no matter which I choose, the clef doesn’t change with the view.

Not to belabor the obvious (although I’m beginning to wonder!), but what I expect to see is treble clef in transposed view and bass clef in concert view. I can manually make the clef either treble or bass, but it doesn’t change with the view—it stays in the same clef.

What am I missing?


I’ve searched the archive of posts but I don’t see anybody specifically asking this question; namely, Can I put in a clef change that only appears in the part or only in the score? This is a very common occurrence. For example, I’m working on a score that must stay in C but includes several F horns whose parts will obviously be transposed. There are several places where the score should switch to bass clef for low horn lines, but the part should stay in treble clef nearly all the time. (I believe Elaine Gould suggests keeping the horn in treble clef down to a low C.)

Does Dorico yet support this?

(Yes, I can imagine a workaround: make new players with identical music to the horns in question, remove the clef changes, remove the new players from the score, and use the parts these new players create. This is kludgy and removes the benefits of having parts linked to the score; it’s also good recipe for a mistake creeping in to either the score or part and never getting corrected.)

No, as yet you cannot do this, but we know that it should be possible, and we do plan to implement this in future.

This could best be done with two instruments, cello not included in the score.

Is this available in 2.2.20? I have that same issue as above with the bass clarinet; conductor wants a C score and I think it would look best with it in bass clef in the score. And the horn ledger line comment, etc.

No, there have been no further developments in this area recently, but it is certainly something we are planning to address.

Unless the composer/arranger is also the conductor, it is very misleading for the player to see the music notated differently from the full score and can lead to time wasting in rehearsal with cross-purpose discussions. I would therefore discourage this practice, particularly if the performers are not known to the composer/arranger and recommend that what the player sees in the part should also appear identically in the score. I speak from bad experience! :slight_smile:


Respectfully disagree with part of what you say, David. As a full time conductor and also composer/arranger, while my strong preference in my conductor role is to see a transposed score, if I do have to put up with a concert score, I much prefer to see parts like the bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, or baritone saxophone in the bass clef. Otherwise, they can have so many leger lines below the staff that I end up wasting much more time just counting leger lines then I would in the potential cross purposes conversation you mentioned.

Yes, bass clarinet is a tricky one since even in a transposed part it’s still more ledger lines in treble than non bass clarinet players probably want to see.

This is a bit of a special case but I’m having an issue with the range of harmonic gliss contour notated above the pitches ending up in the stratosphere in the part.

(hide ledger lines also refuses to propegate…? ) I know in Dorico octave signs are clefs but maybe if there were an option to unlink octave signs between layouts that could fix things.

Anyway, looking forward to the future features but quite a happy Dorico user as it is! As a side note, parts for my first large ensemble piece in Dorico were an absolute holiday compared to Finale especially with a lot of contemporary techniques. Seriously… formatting and such takes 20 minutes or so per part vs. sometimes 2-3 hours per part in Finale. So a little extra bass clarinet time doesn’t seem like so big a deal :laughing:

Hi Daniel,

Any news on this, with score and parts in the same file, low French Horn parts are problematic in a “Concert” score


Dave Hage

Dave, are you missing the fact that you can insert a clef (anywhere, including the start of a flow), then right-click it, go Clef > Concert and set it to one thing for concert, then go Clef > Transposed and set it to a different thing there?

WAIT HOLD UP, this changes everything :open_mouth:

So for bass clarinet I inserted a bass clef in the score where it enters, select the transposed pitch as treble clef 8 below, and everything works, separate clefs in score and part, and no octave signs necessary in either, and it even automatically changed everything back to treble clef when the Bb clarinet came back in without me having to do anything. Thank you for the tip, Leo!!

To clarify: clefs that behave differently in transposed vs concert pitch were introduced in Dorico 2.0, in May 2018. As at 2.2.20 it’s still not possible to have a clef that only appears in transposed parts or concert scores - a clef change will always show in both (even if it appears to be redundant).

I think it can be “scaled away” where it appears redundant…

Thanks Daniel, I had missed that, I’ll check what happens in a concert score where the French horns switch between bass and treble clefs, but not in the . part.



This is awesome, thanks for pointing it out!

Hi all - has there been any update to this?

It would be great to have some sort of ‘change clef/octave line in this layout’ which would allow the editor to choose whether the clef/octave line is shown or not (just ledger lines) or to change it to a different clef/octave line which would be specific to the present layout.

You can already set explicit clefs to appear differently in layouts of the corresponding transposition, and you can now hide/show clefs entirely in layouts of the corresponding transposition.