hide clefs & key signatures at the beginning of staves

Is it possible in Dorico? In musescore there is settings for this.

Yes, it’s a rather weird thing, it looks kind of ugly, but for me it could be useful.
Say, as an organist I’d like to play a long Bach piece without page turns. It would be just for me, so I don’t care about aesthetic very much as long as it’s legible. In such a case every bit of space might help :slight_smile:

In my practice I sometimes use scissors to make sheets narrower - I cut off the clefs and key signatures on the left and then also the right margins :slight_smile:
musescore settings.PNG

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You can hide time signatures from the properties panel. I believe you can also add an explicit clef, then select it, right-click it and go Clef > Transposed > Invisible.


When I wrote time signatures I meant key signatures, sorry. I edited the title and the original post.
It seems you can’t select clefs and key signatures at the beginning of the staves though.

Hence Leo’s suggestion: add an explicit clef and set it to Invisible.

Yes, thanks for the suggestion, I see now what you’ve meant.
I have an organ score and this works: Explicit Clef->right click on it → Clef → concert pitch → invisible clef.
But it makes a bass clef treble.
transposed pitch → invisible clef doesn’t do anything:
bwv 538 imported.7z (567 KB)

Fair point - the invisible clef seems to be a hidden treble clef.

Try this:

  1. Go into Engrave mode.
  2. Go Engrave > Music Symbols…
  3. Select “Clefs” from the dropdown on the left side of the dialog.
  4. Select F clef from the list that appears.
  5. Hit the trash can icon roughly half way down the dialog, roughly 3/5ths across.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the G clef.

:smiley: quite funny. actually. Thank you. So now just whether it is possible to hide key signatures somehow…

Choose some instruments that hide the key signature automatically (e.g horn in F no key) to make the number of staves you want. If you create a concert pitch score, you won’t have to bother about transpositions.

I need to hide clefs and then display them.

  • #6 doesn’t work since it will permanently remove the clef sign from let’s say the bass clef.

  • #2 doesn’t work since the hidden clef acts as a treble clef.

I would love to be able to define a clef by let’s says duplicate a bass clef and then remove the symbol.
(Feature request)

Since I began using dorico I’ve found another case in which settings for hiding clefs and key signature at the beginning of staves could be useful:
reading from a smartphone screen :slight_smile:

Dorico flexible layout system is great and you can already easily make a “smartphone ready” pdf in addition to the normal A4/letter one. (just set height:width with the same ratio as your phone screen, zero/almost zero margins, and maybe some frame breaks)
However, key signatures and clefs at the beginning of staves take a lot of valuable space and when dealing with just a piano score, for example, you basically don’t need them. (you need them only when a clef/key signature changes)

Please consider implementing settings for this. Yes, on the face it, it all might seem a little bit silly. But for me it would be very useful.

I’m adding my question here, since it seems to be related.

I want to hide the key signature and alterations from a single staff. Odd, but it is what Ludwig van does in the Timpani part of his Eroica. The part is in Eb, with only the Eb and Bb Timpani on stage.

Up to now, I’ve created an independent key signature for the Timpani (via Shift-K, Eb, and then Alt-Return). But I don’t know how to hide the key signature. Setting Opacity to zero doesn’t work.


The clever people at Steinberg addressed this by adding a No-key timpani instrument. Use it :wink:

Already tried. It doesn’t seem to work, because then you have to hide each alteration in each single notes. Unless there is a way to hide alterations from a whole sfaff with a single command.


You could always set an independent (ALT/OPT+ENTER) key signature for the timpani, no?

I don’t think there’s a better solution than using the No Key Timp player.

What you can do, though, is select the first note on the timp staff, Select More a few times, then flick the Accidental switch once. It’ll probably default to “Hide”, but if it doesn’t, the relevant dropdown is just to the right.

Hi there

I’m not sure what you’re after:
In some early editions of Eroica, the key signature is on the first line of the part, and then not thereafter, and the notes are the sounding pitches as if the key signature was still present (so E and B, to be understood as Eflat and Bflat).

Or there’s the first edition of the score (as found on IMSLP) which uses the old tradition, commonly seen, of writing with a void key signature (no sharps or flats) and pitches always as C and G, which in the case of Eroica, are sounding Eflat and Bflat.

The former is trickier, but there is a time-consuming manual solution. The latter is straightforward, as it acts as a normal transposing instrument.


Hang on a minute: the first edition score uses a very non-standard four-line staff at the beginning, collapsing to a three-line stave without clef after page 1. I think to save some space in a tightly engraved score. But in any case, Don’t Do That!

Not only Beethoven. It was standard practice in the classical period. Sometimes the drums were notated in C G as transposing instruments, when they sound D A.

That’s what I did. Still, I can’t hide the key signature from that independent staff.

Since there are only two pitches in the Timpani part, this may be the quickest solution! And it works! Thank you for the hint!

I’m working with the Litolff/Dover (1880) edition, that seems to do something in the middle: no key signature, no alterations, but the nearest notes to the actual pitch. This, to prove that there are thousand ways to make things confused!

Thank you for this information! I’m curious to see if there was a practical reason for this.


So you need playback?
If not I wouldn’t bother.
If so, I would go to the expression maps and make the timpani transpose a semi tone downwards.

Yes, absolutely. I’m using Dorico as a hybrid composing tool. Sophisticate graphics (at the border of philological, when needed), together with accurate playback.