Dorico uses the wrong Clef for Guitars

Is there a way to change the Guitars to use always standard G-Clef 8Va? It´s a little annoying to do that manual all the time.

Most guitar music I’ve seen has used the treble clef on its own, without the octave transposition indication (which is assumed, regardless of the clef).

However, if you’re used to seeing the octave indication and want to use that in Dorico, you can use the Edit Instruments dialog either to change the clef shown for the guitar instrument as default for your user library, or you can create a variant of the guitar that shows the octave-indication treble clef and use that variant in your projects.


Thank you for the response, I will take a look into that.
The Guitar is a transposed instrument, it sounds an Octave lower then its written, means if there is no 8 under the clef. if have to play one octave higher. everything else is wrong. and it does make it not better that the default in Dorico is incorrect in this regard. means people goin on to think its correct. Take a look at original sheets of tarrega, caruli, carcassi and so on. I will bet you find the correct clef there everywhere. Even the Book, behind the bars is telling that u should use the 8 for Guitar, cause everything else could lead to misinterpretations.

I’ve just grabbed a couple of publications from my guitar-studies days, and interestingly there is a mixture of with/without the octave transposition sign.

Gould says that the octave transposing clef “may be used” “if preferred”, and that this is “optional” although it “makes it easier to identify the positions of instruments with such transpositions in a score”. And that octave transpositions are assumed, “whether or not the octave-transposing clefs are indicated”.

So like many areas of music notation, I don’t think there is a single accepted standard, and that most guitarists are likely to read their music correctly, with or without the octave transposition (as the octave is generally clear from context and experience).

If you prefer to show the octave transposition sign, you can modify your user library accordingly. Dorico provides many, many options for these sorts of scenarios where a significant number of users are likely to prefer one or the other.


Are you coming from MuseScore? This has been a default that MuseScore uses, but is completely unnecessary and not typically used as everyone understands that a Guitar is an instrument that transposes at the octave. (MuseScore even uses ottava clefs for Tenor Sax. too which is just incredibly dumb.)

Just opened the Carcassi Complete Method and the Pascual Roch (school of Tarrega) Modern Method and there no ottava clefs anywhere, only treble. I didn’t search any further but imagine most reputable publishers do not use them. As Lillie said, it’s easy to redefine if you want, but certainly unnecessary. I never use ottava clefs for guitar and haven’t once been asked by a guitarist about it.


I spent my entire career as a guitarist, and the treble clef without the 8 underneath has been the norm. Even Faber publications for guitar omit this, and Gould worked for Faber, if I remember correctly. You are not wrong, in that the guitar does indeed sound an octave lower. But the major publishers of guitar music in the 20th/21st centuries - Schott, Berben, Universal all omit it. Kind of standard practice, now.
And, Lillie has kindly shown a way to achieve what you want. Win-win as we say!


Guitar player here. Just +1 that yes even though guitar is a transposing instrument, it’s very rare to see the 8va clef for us. Just like how double bass sounds an octave lower than written but they don’t use a different clef. It’s just understood.

1 Like

dunno… is this an American thing to not use the 8 under the clef for guitar?

Certainly not. Note that messages sent during European daytime come probably from Europe (for a great part), then Eastern America… It’s 16:36 in France.
I would certainly not trust MuseScore’s defaults in any case. Looking through the literature is certainly a better move.

Piccolo and Contrabass (string bass) don’t bother with 8 on their clefs either.


I teach full-time guitar… and at university it was considered wrong or a bad habit not to use the 8 clef… so tell me more…

We’re not going to change Dorico’s factory default here, but if you’re using Dorico Pro, it’s easy to change this as a default for future projects:

  1. Choose Library > Instruments.
  2. Find the guitar instrument in the left-hand list.
  3. Select it, and edit its clef.
  4. Click the little star button in the action bar on the left-hand side.

Now, when you start a new project and add a guitar instrument it will use your chosen clef.


Well, maybe there is some new or specific movement to change the fact that the octave clef is implicit. Such move does seem to exist against syllabic notation on vocal scores (most of my clients still want them though), or to have very consistent tempo markings… That is why Dorico is so good. You can either use the default or change it to whatever suits you most, and make it a default.
But don’t expect everyone to agree with such things :wink::person_shrugging:

1 Like

I’m not sure if it’s a new movement or something similar. I’ve just been going through my old guitar books that I used to learn as a child, and they all show the G clef with an 8 below it. This includes all the original Carcassi, Tarrega pieces from Karl Scheit’s publishing, or the various rock guitar materials. Especially all guitar textbooks, I’ve just gone through about 12 different teaching works, regardless of whether it’s electric guitar, classical, or flamenco. There are a few books, like those from Cherry Lane Music, that don’t have the 8 under the G clef in my collection, but that’s the exception and often leads to confusion. It might also be a German thing… just like the B and H we have. :wink: At least my colleagues don’t like it. In notation, one should assume that it should be correctly represented even by those who may not know the background of the instrument. Maybe someone will find your notes in 500 years, and has no idea what a guitar is… That person will think it sounds higher than a ukulele ;). As long as I can change the settings for myself, it’s all good. And it’s interesting that it seems rather unusual for some people.

If you look up any of the names you listed on IMSLP, you’ll find scores with treble clef without the 8. Somebody should have taken you up on your earlier bet…


Bildschirmfoto 2023-12-06 um 20.17.12
Bildschirmfoto 2023-12-06 um 20.17.19
Bildschirmfoto 2023-12-06 um 20.16.38

no 8 under the Clef ??? can u read ?

I said on IMSLP.ón_Tango_(Tárrega%2C_Francisco)#Scores

Carcassi (from Schott, no less)

Carulli, from Simrock:

So no, it doesn’t even seem to be a German thing.

Can you keep it civil?

1 Like

What are you arguing about? Dorico can do what you want. To quote the Nike ad: “Just do it.”

1 Like