Key signature on first system only

It’s common in jazz charts to only show the key signature at the start, so it’s “hidden” on subsequent systems. I’m sure I’ve read that this is possible with Dorico, but I can’t find the option.
I’m using v3.5 still, so hopefully it’s available there.


From the days when hand copyists would charge extra for clefs and key sigs!

It was added in version 4, so you’ll need to upgrade. It’s well worth it. There’s several other features for making things look like Real book etc.


I was hoping you weren’t going to say that - I’ve actually paid for the upgrade, but can’t use it till I upgrade my system.
But many thanks for the speedy reply!

IIRC, the 2017 book Berklee Contemporary Music Notation by the editor-in-chief of Berklee Press recommends that this old practice be discarded, and as a jazz musician, composer, and teacher I agree, FWIW.


I don’t disagree … but I want to tell a little story: This past week, looking at a few pages from one of the New Real Books (also Berklee), I noticed the relative sizes of different elements: Chord symbols are huge, lyrics are included but very small, etc. — because of course they are optimized for what the gigging musician needed to read quickly and easily on the printed page, often from a distance in bad light. No clefs or key sigs after the first line because for a standard tune it is not information. It seems in that case they omitted them to leave room to make the information as large as possible (a different reason from benwiggy’s point above).

I see these needs gradually changing as musicians are trained differently, play different kinds of music, and increasingly read from illuminated screens. Even simple tunes – that don’t change key or meter like the “classical” music in which the notation was developed – now benefit from complete information in the context of one system, because methods of pagination have changed, etc.

Very good points, @bobk and @Mark_Johnson.
I’m not a fan of omitting the key sig after the first system, generally. But in this case, my chart for the transposed parts is either 5 sharps or 5 flats. It’s a simple part, so it’s really not necessary for the key sig to take up that much space. The page would actually look much cleaner without them on every line. Simple, clean, easy-to-read look is what I’m always going for. Just the basic info, as Mark said.

I’ve tried to minimize the look of the key sig for this project by using Engraving Options to:

  • take “Gap between accidentals in key sigs” to zero
  • reducing Spacing Gaps to drag everything closer to the left margin.
    But the key sig is still taking up too much space for my taste.

Oh well, hopefully new system soon…
Thanks folks.
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