Dorico uses the wrong Clef for Guitars

You are correct with regards to the Scheit edition(s) - they do indeed use the octave. As you mentioned, it may indeed be a German practice more than other places. It’s interesting that Schott doesn’t follow this - at least in the many Segovia editions. The French first editions of Sor didn’t, either.
Really not trying to beat you on the head about this! I think we have entered into an area similar to the notation of harmonics on the guitar - now, it seems that we notate them at the sounding pitch (clef notwithstanding), whereas in earlier eras, it was all over the map (or fretboard). Things can be fluid…
All the best!

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Just for completely different style of examples, it doesn’t seem to be a classical vs jazz or contemporary issue either, as neither Clinton Roemer …

… nor Berklee calls for the use of the ottava clef with Guitar.

I happen to have about 250 guitar scores to hand (all published before 1985) and of the ones I’ve taken off the shelf so far (it’s a dusty business), only the Karl Scheit editions (Universal Edition) use the octave clef apart from a couple of hand-written scores: Leo Brouwer’s arrangement of pieces from Henze’s El Cimarrón (Schott) and the score of Brouwer’s own Concerto (Editions Max Eschig).

There’s quite a bit of chamber music (one might have expected to see the clefs here if anywhere), some songs, and several concertos. There are things like Brian Jeffery’s facsimile edition of Fernando Sor’s Collected Works for Guitar. There are a handful of methods. There’s a huge range of publishers: from the most famous to the most obscure (and America to Japan).

Unless things have changed very much in recent decades, you’re very wrong about the octave clef being the norm.


I think MuseScore can be blamed somewhat for ottava clefs appearing in quite recent work. Here’s a MS concert score …

… and here’s transposed:

Consequently, I have students turning stuff in with ottava clefs. :face_vomiting: The concert Tenor Sax. ottava clef completely screws up my score reading.

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tristes, what shall I tell you… u have to explicit try to find a guitar book for teaching that has no “octave clef” in it. all standard book from Ama, Fridolin, Heros, play guitar and so on wich are intended to use for teaching adults and children are written in that octave clef. And these books are used by almost all Guitar teachers. And it’s even so uncommon that Musescore uses it as standard, and Finale at least has an option to choose the 8va Guitar in the before u created a score. Maybe there are many scores, that are noted that way, fine. Okay so am “very wrong”. This discussion is still wow… Someone is trying to be very specific in notation of an instrument, so that he can make sure that every one is playing the EXACT frequency that he should when he / her sees the score… even if he never heard the concept of a guitar but knows his instrument that he plays.

I found one book for teaching, the Christopher parking method, for English students when I have one. that’s still 13 vs 1 in the teaching area

The thing that is non-standard is guitarists attempting to read up the octave because the clef doesn’t explicitly tell them not to.

Guitarists aren’t taught to do that any more than they’re taught to read alto clef.


I’ve looked at some other Universal Edition scores and the octave clef isn’t used. I’ve found it from another Austrian publisher (Musikhaus Doblinger) but once again, the editor was Karl Scheit.

It is used in the handwritten full score of Henze’s Il Re Teodoro in Venezia (Schott) and this might be more standard practice. In the vocal score of Kammermusik though, it’s used for the tenor but not the guitar.

It is used in Schott’s edition of Tippett’s The Blue Guitar, edited by Julian Bream, but not in Bream’s Faber editions.

Some do use the octave transposition clef, some don’t. There are reasonable justifications either way, to my mind.

Dorico has to default to something, but you have the option to change it – and with the instrument editor in Dorico Pro 5, you have the option to change the default for all your projects forevermore. That sounds pretty good to me :slight_smile:

Feel free to continue exchanging your research / edition comparisons for mutual interest, but otherwise I think the original question has been explored and answered now.


Has any guitarist ever played anything at the wrong octave? As @pianoleo has said, that would be very odd.

I’m not sure why you have such faith in Musescore (see @FredGUnn’s post above).


maybe you should check your installation… two sharps and no oct on the clef @tenor sax

I’ve told you that all the ones I have here (pre-1985) - along with a large number of other scores - do not use an octave clef.

Whatever the reasons for its use now, I can show that it has only been used recently.

Lillie seems to want the conversation to come to a close so I’ll say no more unless anyone has a question about a particular score I might have (a lot of it’s stuff that won’t be on IMSLP).

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And in concert pitch, which was the whole point of the post about MuseScore up the thread?

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yeah i misread it, never press on the concert pitch button when I write for fault

that’s all fine :slight_smile: I really believe you I. I never did not. I just can tell, that all my material I need to teaching is written with that, so I won’t change, cause its not bad practice at all to do that oct clef, because u are more precices and don’t leave any doubts. In the end the octav don’t hurt anyone. its just an 8, but it makes sure that everyone gets it in the right octave. Guitarist and non Guitarists. And that’s the whole point. Everyone.

A tenor sax is a transposing instrument, in B flat, sounding a ninth lower than written. Therefore, in tonal music, with a different key signature. It is never written with a G8 clef.
(Maybe MuseScore should introduce a G clef with a 9 underneath?)


Someone needs to tell that to Tantacrul. The ottava clef on the Tenor Sax in concert pitch is most decidedly unhelpful and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen that in any other program or in print in concert scores.

I’m pretty fast at reading transposed big band scores, but I’ve done it so much I don’t really have to think about it. (My main instrument is also Alto Sax so Eb transposition is automatic.) I’m slower reading the above concert mess than I am with transposed because I have to stop and think about each note being down an octave, as visually Tenor 1 & 2 appear higher that Alto 1 & 2.

if you feel like there should be a G Clef with a 9 underneath go for it and talk to the dev team. but I don’t know what your answer has to do with what I have written… if you would have peeked a little after that post of mine, u would have seen that I was not pressing the transpose button. so sure it was correct like that for me, in that moment, and it looked like an issue with the installation. why do I even explain that…

No, I actually don’t. Not even in MuseScore (lest anyone would start using it). I’m afraid it wasn’t clear I was trying to make a joke. My apologies for sounding serious there.
Apart from that: I concur with @FredGUnn: even (or especially) a concert score shouldn’t use octave clefs. But a conductor must use a transposed score anyway.


I did a little research, yeah it seems it is more common that the normal treble clef is used, and probably was the standard, I am sorry for that misassumption of mine. But it is not anymore the absolut standard… and the 8vb is pretty common too. Even Schott Henry Lemon Hal Leonard Mel bay GSP, are interchanging the treble and 8vb treble. there is an example for the (Schott) Romantic Guitar Anthology, 4 Volumes. 1 Volume treble Clef, the Volumes 2-4 8vb. Sometimes even in the same song book seems to happen. so please… if you think its not right or uncommon to use the 8vb , you are wrong. same for me reversed. And probably… I don’t know… if was rude I am sorry to everyone, but some of you didn’t made me feel good either. ( was like… sitting there starring at all that material I have and have to use in school, and u consist its wrong or not correct and give me more examples that of stuff that’s used is somewhere else notated differently, that not helpful at all) In the end, I wanna have a good time here, like u all, and I learned stuff, that’s good I guess. and we all like or live from music I guess. so yeah.