Piece in B (g#) appearing as Cb

Hi everyone,

I’m working on a piece in g#-, for a whole big band. as i chose the key, my saxes and trumpets appear in ab-, and the rest of the band in g#- (see below)

How can I force the a unified tonality?
Thanks in advance,


You are probably viewing the score in Transposed Pitch as opposed to Concert Pitch:

Hi there,

I am, yes, but I still have to provide these score to real players and in transposed pitch, so my issue is staying for the moment. I’m not sure if I explained it well, but everyone should see the same alterations basically, no matter if transposed or concert pitch

I’m not quite getting what you mean.

So, if the score was in G with only one sharp, would you like to see your trumpet parts also in G - but with transposed notes (probably applying the second and third sharp to each individual notes)?

(P.S.: You can have the score in concert pitch while still having the parts in transposed pitch at the same time.)

Thanks for the answer.

So my point is that basically, the piece is in g#-. i have to provide everything in transposed pitch, so I would need my alto sax, trumpets, piano, bass, all to look in g#m and not partly in g#- and partly in ab-. i’m well aware that for a saxophonist ab- is an easier way to read g#-, but being a commission i want to keep it the same for everyone.

I can work in concert pitch, and it all looks in g#-, but when exporting the single parts, my sax and trumpets look in ab- and i do not want that.
similarly, i am asked to provide the score in transposed, and would like to have it all looking in the same key to help the conductor studying the score.

This would totally throw everybody off instead of helping. When I read a transposed score, I expect players to have different key signatures, based on the transposition of their instruments.
When your piece is in g#m (5 #), then alto saxophones would need 8 # (??) for e#m, which will always be simplified to the corresponding key with flats. It’s just normal, please don’t force things otherwise (or at least be prepared to hand out lots of little presents for your players who need to go through this mess :wink: )

Your piece is in G# minor (key signature same as for B Major).
So you want your Bb Trumpets in A# minor (relative major key signature of C# major).

Have you asked your trumpet players how they feel about that? Ultimately the question is how this will affect rehearsal time if the parts are more difficult to read.

Presumably you should be able to make your score look the way you want. No idea what tells Dorico to try to simplify it for you and whether there is a preference you can change to affect the key signature yourself. You might try using Bb Trumpets without a key signature and then altering the individual parts (if they appear in flats) by selecting all the notes and using ALT/OPT+- (minus sign) to transpose the notes enharmonically to sharps.


Try this solution for your key signatures in Notation Options

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Thank you very much. I do agree, it doesn’t look player-friendly, but at least I can now provide a double score with both versions. Perhaps, the client did not think of this possible issue, but now I learned something new and it’s great to see the double possibility available.


As this is a wind band composition, I’d strongly recommend using concert Ab minor rather than G# minor (if preserving the current sounding pitches is essential) for three reasons:

  1. It would put all instruments into flat key signatures (C: 7b, F: 6b, Bb: 5b, Eb: 4b) which will make the score much easier for the conductor to read, rather than having a mix of sharp and flat keys.

  2. There are no double-accidentals in Ab minor, but there are in G# minor (Fx).

  3. Wind band players are far more used to reading flat keys than orchestral players, so 7bs will often be easier for them than 5#s.

However, if you’re open to it, a better solution would be to transpose the whole piece down a half-step to concert G minor. This would put all players into a much more comfortable key (C: 2b, F: 1b, Bb: no key, Eb: 1#) which will lead to considerably fewer playing errors, make the score very easy to read, and the only compromises being that the piece will sound ever so slightly darker, and some low passages might need to come up an octave.