Two simple questions from a beginner

I have written a small piece of music, but there seem to be more I can do to it. How do I

  1. Change the key at the start of the music.
  2. Change an instrument, from a transposing one ( a clarinet in b flat) to another non transposing instrument, at the start of the music ?

Simple questions, but I cannot find out how to do these.

Hey Bill,

Do you mean you want to change the key signature shown at the start only, leaving all the notes exactly as they were? Or that you want to transpose the entire flow, e.g. from D major to E major?

  • To change just the key signature: select something at the beginning of the flow, and input the key signature you want. Changing an existing item like that follows exactly the same procedure as inputting a new one.

  • To transpose the notes as well as changing the key signature, see here: Transposing selections

In Setup mode, change the instrument’s type: the transposition in transposed pitch layouts will update automatically.

Thank you, I have been looking but not finding.

If , instead of changing the solo instrument (in this case a Bb clarinet), I chose to copy the music to the accompanying piano, would it be just a case of copy/paste or move, in which case the transposition of the music on the clarinet would be altered automatically ?

Yep, Dorico automatically updates displayed pitches in transposed pitch layouts, according to the instrument the notes belong to.

Thank you, Lillie. I thought I was making elementary progress, until I realised that what I had written was really not what I was intending.

I will get there someday !

Thank you. I have tried to transpose the whole project into a different key as you suggested, but cannot work out how it works. The help section does not seem to come down to my basic elementary level - Help !

To transpose the whole flow, first make sure that nothing at all is selected: type Command-D (Mac) or Ctrl+D (Windows) or choose Edit > Select None. Then choose Write > Transpose. Use the interval calculator on the right-hand side to specify the original key and the new key, and this will set up the controls on the left-hand side appropriately. Make sure the option to transpose key signatures is activated. Then click OK. That should do it.

I have tried your instructions, Daniel, but when I try to transpose from Bb to C it transposes to Ab - most peculiar !
I have tried several times, with the result the same .

Are you sure you used the drop-down box for “Up” or “Down” correctly. Sounds like it’s on 'Down" by mistake …

I did notice that the drop down box seemed to go to "Down " almost by default, but I did correct it. I really do not understand how something so simple seems to be such a difficult option in Dorico. I wrote a simple 16 bar theme, hoping to find out all kinds of options - instrument change, change of key, chord symbols, etc, but it seems to be so difficult to do anything with it - such a shame

Hi Bill

If you have a couple minutes free right now I could meet you on zoom and help you out with this. Possible?


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I would be grateful - if it is possible.

I would be grateful - if it is possible

Hi Daniel, I was in touch with Bill and we sorted the transposition out. However, I had the same issue as he did . If I CALCULATE Bb to C natural and APPLY, the left hand side changes to Minor 7th. Of course that is incorrect. So instead we changed the interval to a major 2nd.

Why did “calculate the interval” not work as expected?

I kept fiddling around with the transpose feature and now realize I have to change the “At Octave” dropdown to “5”. That will give you the correct transposition. Got it!

MIDI note numbering specifies that each octave starts with C. Thus C4 is middle C (or in some systems middle C is C3), the note a tone above is D4 and the note below is B3. If you want to transpose from C4 to the Bb below, you need to tell Dorico to calculate to Bb in octave 3, not Bb in octave 4.

Or yes, if you start with C natural in octave 5, transposing to Bb in octave 4 will achieve the same result.

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I just pick notes in the same octave and hit Apply.
from: D to: C does it.

Yes, because D4 is a second above C4. C4 is not a second above Bb4 and in my previous message I explained that.