French Horn (Horn in F) and Key Signature

• Dec 17, 2020 - 07:11

Hi Everyone,

A quick question: I see the French Horn line is automatically entered with an F-sharp in the clef when the rest of the piece in is A minor (no accidentals). Is that the correct default or should I use the concert pitch setting for this instrument to remove the sharp. No other instruments are affected. Forgive my ignorance, but I've read that French Horn players traditionally don't use a clef. I would prefer to keep the key signature to avoid lower ledger lines.




F-sharp in the clef and don't use a clef ??
F# is a key signature, not a clef (and a clef is not a staff)

French Horn (apparently) is a transposing instrument, so it does use a different key signatiure (and potentially clef) in concert pitch vs. sounding pitch

On a practical level, go ahead and write horn parts with a key signature. They'll figure it out. Range is more of a consideration to worry about.

To be clear: horn in F is a transposing instrument, so music in A minor really is in E minor for horn (and B minor for Bb trumpets and clarinets, F# minor for alto and baritone saxophone, etc).

But, in some circles it is common to transpose the music for horn but leave out the key signature. Not all horn players are enamored of this convention, but if you wish to follow it, add the "open/atonal" key signature from the palette to that staff only (by pressing Ctrl while adding it).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks everyone. For now I'll go with the MuseScore default and see what the response is from players. I prefer having the notes within the staff anyway. And, yes, the transposed range is a concern-- not only the range, but how the horn sounds within its range and with other instruments. But I did want to follow the conventions for part-writing here as closely as possible.

Marc and Jeetee, thanks for the tip on the open/atonal key option.


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