Feature request (RealBook style)

Please, don’t forget the RealBook style (cleff and key signature only in the first stave)

Thanks so much for all the work and thought put into Dorico, for me The Best editing music software on Earth!!!

All the best to the Team!

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You could add an invisible clef on the second stave as a workaround.
Shift-C then write invisible and press return.


When I try this on a piece for solo piano, it works fine for the treble clef but unfortunately does two things for the bass clef - it not only hides the clef but also transposes both the key signature and the notes to where they would be in the treble clef . Perhaps this is unimportant because Realbook style involves only a treble clef and chord symbols. However, if there is a way to make a grand staff bass clef invisible without related transpositions I would be interested to hear it.

By the way guitarlosjazz have a look at my website here: https://norfonts.ma, some jazz fonts for Dorico, and extra jazzy clefs pack.

Yeah, sorry the invisible clef seems to be a treble clef.


This is the tradition for the RealBook style (cleff and key signature only in the first stave)New Real 1 .pdf (145.1 KB)

For key, you can switch to Open key after the first bar, and then manually hide the accidentals. Clefs are much harder because there’s no way to hide clefs in Dorico other than using the Invisible clef. As previously mentioned this is mapped as a treble clef so it’s not going to be very useful for bass clef playback, although could work if you only care about display only. Obviously not an issue for a treble clef lead sheet.

Ideally, I think I’d love to see Notation Options support this so it can be handled on a flow by flow basis. FWIW, here’s how Finale handles it. For Clefs, there’s a “Display clef only on first staff system” checkbox:

For Key Sigs, there’s a “Display key signature only on first staff system” checkbox:

If Dorico could implement something like that in a flow-based way, I would think that would solve the issues with this type of notation.

This feature request has been made before, and Daniel’s reply was that he thinks Dorico should have options for this.

Don’t fall into the trap of reading the first thirteen words and ignoring the rest; the point is that drawing and then hiding things goes against the general Dorico ethos, whereas having options so that Dorico knows not to draw the thing in the first place is very much what Dorico’s good at.

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It’s always interesting when an error become established as tradition.

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Yep, I think Notation Options would be a good place to park these sort of settings. There are a lot of contingencies to be thought through, so there may still need to be some sort of manual overrides needed if this does ever get implemented. Obviously a treble clef lead sheet is pretty straightforward and can basically be done now with invisible clef, open key and hiding accidentals. A treble clef lead sheet that goes to grand staff for some systems will need a way to restate the treble clef key sig on that system as obviously the bass clef key sig will of course need to be stated on the first occurrence. There will need to be a way to force a clef to show if a treble lead sheet goes to grand staff, then to back to a single staff. If it’s clearly treble then someone might even want this treble clef hidden so that should be an available override, although for clarity I think it should always be shown. Obviously changes of key will need to be shown, so Dorico couldn’t just simply suppress key sigs from showing after the first system.

(Honestly the “real book” style is a holdover from hand copying days where the copyist could bill extra for adding clefs and key sigs to every staff. This style was mostly done because it was faster and cheaper, not because it was “better,” so it’s fine with me if this convention dies out. As it is such prominently found style it’s unlikely to be going away any time soon, so Dorico really should support it.)

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Not an error as much as cost/time issue. FWIW the Local 802 “General Price List” still allows copyists to bill for adding clefs and key sigs which seems pretty insane in 2021.

Try this. As long as you don’t have the Notation Option set for octave-transposed clefs to be respected, it should work fine.

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Well, the error perhaps was not paying the rate to have it done properly. :wink:

While I’m throwing shade, I do find the tradition of ‘using a computer to make it look like it was done with pen’ equally curious. I thought we’d move on from that since the 16th century…


Completely agree. I hate “jazz font” with a passion. No one is fooling anyone, it’s obviously done with a computer, it’s now just less legible, LOL.

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Then why do page layout designers use every font under the sun to create a certain “mood”, including many that are designed to look like pen script? You want everything set in Times New Roman and a handful of similar fonts?

Besides music, other fields that use a “hand done” font are architectural and mechanical drawings.

In Sibelius, you could at least use a coffee-stained background to finish it off :wink:


I had always assumed that it was created for those session and jazz musicians who feel more comfortable reading from it than something that looks like Bravura. “Classical” music done in that font would look decidedly odd…

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That is wonderful, Daniel!!!

With all my respect to the people who has a different opinion, I disagree that it was an error that became established as a tradition. I know that jazz musicians do not need or want (waisting that space also) to be reminded in every stave of the key and cleff.

They felt free to create compositions and ways to notate it that did not need to follow other traditions. I alway like to write my music like that because is my prefer choice when I write tunes in that style however I only could achieve that a long time ago when I was using Finale.

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In the mid-90s output from Finale (Petrucci) and Encore was pretty crummy, at least as done by the vast majority of copyists., and Sibelius wasn’t much of a presence on the NYC scene yet. Computer output certainly didn’t have that human element and didn’t swing as much as hand copying did. When Jazz Font came along it was embraced by a lot of that scene because it was more familiar looking, and if you’re going to read terribly copied music, hey, at least something more familiar would be better. Fast-forward 20 years - virtually no one is producing hand copied music anymore, and everyone is used to reading computer copied music, which has had a ton of advances in the meantime. Jazz font is now the worst of both worlds. It obviously is done by a computer, so doesn’t have a human element and swing, and it’s a pretty poorly designed font which drastically effects legibility, especially under the circumstances in which jazz musicians typically perform. (Bad light, subs on gig, Scotch)

Which of these 3 lead sheets would anyone rather read? Obviously this is a personal preference, but the Jazz font version is definitely last for me.