Newbie - imported MusicXML - I see C-Dur, Dorico sees Atonal?

Hi,
new to Dorico, music sheets, music therory in general.
To learn about sheet scanning I scanned a sheet image into Audiveris.
From Audiveris I exportet to MusicXml.
I opened that xml in Dorico Elements.
So far so good.
For some reason Dorico shows me an “Atonal” flag at the beginning of the sheet. I am new to all this, but I think, what I have in the sheet is C-Dur.
Can you help me to understand why Dorico thinks these notes are atonal?


03_Quelle-b.xml (19,3 KB)

Just double click on “Atonal” and change it to “C”.

No sharps or flats can either be “C major” or “A minor” or “Atonal” key signature. If there are any sharps or flats in the key signature it is not Atonal but some minor or major key.

Thanks, changing it works well.
I just thought that treble cleff with no accidentals and ceg chord means c-major. But that assumption was to simple it seems :slight_smile:
(and back to the learning board).

1 Like

Yes, that assumption is too simple because there can be many different “keys” without key signatures. For example modal music uses the same tonal material but outside of (or in addition to) the typical major/minor keys we associate with European classical music.

“So What” by Miles Davis is in D minor but it’s the Dorian mode, i. e. the notes of the C major scale but starting from the second note, so you wouldn’t write a key signature. I suspect Dorico probably doesn’t know in which key music without key signature is (if it hasn’t been specified in the MusicXML file before), regardless of which notes are in the first bar, so it assumes “atonal”, to be on the safe side. In fact, the key in which a piece of classical music is written is typically determined by the last bar (because that’s usually the tonic), not the first one.

In case it helps, I just want to mention that key signatures in Dorico don’t “know” (or care) what key the notes are in. If you’re used to Finale, where changing the key sig transposes all the following notes, Dorico and Sibelius don’t do that: When you change a key sig the pitches stay the same. (You can transpose both at once if you select both first.)