Lead Sheet Layout

Hi everyone,
I’m new here and Dorico user since one month, crossgrading from Sibelius.
I need to write lead sheets in the Sher. New Realbook style. is it possible to have clefs, key and time signature only on the first stave of a page? This is a common layout in Realbooks, see


I think a “hide option” for every element in the score would be helpful but don’t think that exists?

Thank you for ideas and workarounds

As long as you only need to hide a treble clef, you can do this using an invisible clef. As the invisible clef is defined the same as a treble, I don’t think you can use this trick to hide a bass clef, unless you only care about the display and not playback. Use an invisible clef to hide the clefs that appear at the beginning of the system, and Notation Options/Barlines/Systemic Barline/“Show for one or more staves” to show the barlines.

Thank you FredGUnn for your quick answer!
As you wrote this is working with scores in C-Major/A-minor, but when you write in another key, the key signature is shown on every stave - any possibility to avoid that?
And with the clef this is working for first pages only, because if you need a clef on the first stave of subsequent pages, you get a “reminder clef” (don’t kow if this is the correct english word, I’m from Berlin, Germany :slight_smile: ) in the last bar of page 1.
I think that Dorico developers do not consider to implement a general possibility to hide objects for the moment? It would be a good option for the purpose described.

Hmmm, I can’t think of a good answer for the key signature issue, other than making the first one purely graphical and then hiding accidentals as needed on a note by note basis. That would be quite a lot of effort though for something that is just 1 click in Document Options in Finale. Maybe someone else will have a suggestion.

Hiding various elements has been a much requested feature. For now to hide the cautionary clef you either need to start a new flow in the next system, or just add a Coda and hide the Coda symbol. As the latter is much faster, that’s usually what I end up doing. Here’s an example with the signposts showing:

I fully agree that there should be easier ways to hide elements without these sort of workarounds.

The bad news for you chaps is that I don’t agree. I’m against general-purpose features to hide any element. What I’m more interested in is why you want to hide something, because there is normally an underlying requirement that can be better addressed by a different solution. I don’t think we should have features for hiding clefs or key signatures in order to stop them appearing in the preamble at the start of each system: we should simply have options for this.

Hi Daniel, it’s totally ok that you don’t agree because you know how to write good software and I don’t. I’m only looking for a way to write professional lead sheets in Dorico (I used Sibelius before and I’m unhappy with their developement over the past years since you left… ).
It’s common practice in professional published Fakebooks (Sher Music and many many others) that clefs and key signatures appear only on the first stave of every page (maybe to reduce any objects not necessary for quick sight reading).
I’m a professional into this field and I need to write lead sheets with that special layout. So it would be great to know how I can achieve this in Dorico. Wether a requirement like this is done by a general “hide elements” option or special options for this purpose is totally the same for me as long as I can do this in an easy way😊.

Well … it’s possible but really time consuming. You’ll have to create key signatures and time signatures as playing techniques and just use them graphically. The trial and error creating the key sigs (I didn’t see a composite already made) will take quite a bit of time, but I suppose if you do this a lot you could save them in your main default file that you start from once you have them set up. You’ll have to hide the accidentals manually too. Here’s a few bars of Pensativa just as an example:

It’d be easier to place a hidden C major key sig at bar 2, I think.

I’m not at my computer right now, but if he used a hidden Gb key sig, would that automatically hide the accidentals that are covered by the key sig?

You can’t hide a key signature on other systems, so what would a hidden Gb key signature achieve?

I’m not at my PC and couldn’t exactly remember what the hiding options were. Was just wondering if there was an easier way to hide all the accidentals other than manually.

I’m not at my machine either. I’m pretty sure there are Engraving Options that mean that cancellation naturals aren’t shown - this is the reason that C major and A minor (and open/atonal) key signatures show a red signpost.

It may not be appropriate if the lead sheet actually has changes of key signature.

I may be wrong, but it seems Daniel hasn’t entirely ruled out Engraving Options that accomplish what the original poster needs. I’d try to clarify this with Daniel somehow.

For what it’s worth, Clinton Roemer (The Art of Music Copying) would definitely insist on key signatures on each line/system. Roemer is the Bible, as far as I’m concerned. I consider their absence Tinker Toy notation.

It’s just a hand copying shorthand notation. I never do it myself, but it’s certainly commonly found. FWIW, the Local 802 General Price List still charges extra for adding clefs and/or key signatures to every staff, which is insane in 2020.

FWIW, this is done with 2 clicks in Document Options in Finale. In each case “first” refers to first on that page, so it will also automatically show on the first system of any subsequent pages.

You can also manually force any Key or Time sig to hide too, as well as any cautionary clef, key, or time sig in Measure Options which is a feature I’d love to have in Dorico. This is very useful when making educational worksheets and way faster than creating a bunch of flows, or adding and hiding a bunch of Codas.

Hi, thank you all for your ideas! In fact it seems to me that there is no simple option to accomplish what I would need. Could the developer team think about it?
And as FredGunn said:

It’s just a hand copying shorthand notation. I never do it myself, but it’s certainly commonly found.

this is done in nearly all “old” Realbooks and the whole Sher. Music Real Book series with thousands of copies sold. I know that this wouldn’t be done in classical music, but in jazz and popular music it is quite common and more than a personal preference of me: many musicians are used to it and Sibelius and Finale therefore are able to do that. Would be helpful if Dorico could do this as well into the future :wink:
There might be “bibles” for music notation but I think it’s better not be dogmatic here and to recognize that great US publishers commonly uses the kind of notation I asked for.

“Scoring Notes” is giving a step-by-step guidance for my purpose for Finale and Sibelius as well, see here:https://www.scoringnotes.com/tips/create-lead-sheets-in-the-real-book-style/

This seems pretty clear to me. What am I missing?

I’ve been copying and engraving jazz ensemble music for 35 years for “great US publishers” and have always been required to state key signatures at the beginning of each line. Clefs, no – most musicians can remember what clef their instrument is notated in.

Roemer does not use clefs on every system though, just the first, while consistently using key sigs. The Ken Williams book “Music Preparation: A Guide to Music Copying” that they used to sell at Associated Music in NYC and the Roemer were the two “bibles” for me back when I was learning handcopying. Ken Williams has examples without clefs or key signatures at the beginning of systems as in pg 130 below:

As both of these styles are represented in well-regarded notation books, and have a zillion examples in print, they really shouldn’t require complicated workarounds to achieve. The ability to quickly hide or show elements like these is also very useful for educational handouts, so I’d really like to see more time-efficient ways to accomplish this in Dorico.

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