Enharmonic key signatures

Hi all,

I’m working on a score in E major and in notation options I’ve checked the boxes to respell as key signatures with less accidentals but in the score, the Bb clarinet still has an F# major key signature rather than Db major - is there something I’ve missed or any other reason why the more complicated key signature is shown rather than the enharmonic equivalent? (Its the same with the Bb trumpet parts as well)


I might be missing something, but F# and Db are not enharmonic equivalents. F# and Gb would be.

As it stands, F# has 6 sharps, and Gb has 6 flats. So there isn’t really an easier way to notate those keys.

The case I’ve seen this used most frequently is when a part is in Cb, that the notation would use the key of B natural (7 flats vs. 5 sharps). But I have not seen any notation where it takes 2 non-enharmonic keys to replace each other.


Asa trumpet player, I would want to see sharps if the key was concert E. It makes a difference.

As a clarinet player I would agree with the trumpet player - F# all the way! (Is it because sharps seem more positive and uplifting, or that it is a rare opportunity for clarinet players to agree with trumpet players)? ha ha :smiley:

As long as you’re not sat in front of us…! :slight_smile:

On a more rational note: I suppose the reason is because players of instruments that transpose in Bb (and Eb, for that matter) are more used to dealing with sharps than non-transposing instruments.

For me, it’s because I hear what I’m playing in E. Reading Gb and hearing E is awkward.