A courtesy parenthesis for key signature at the start of each staff

• Apr 24, 2022 - 02:01

Hi there,

To save horizontal space on my lead sheets, I've unchecked "create clef for all systems" and this works fine. Trouble is, I would like a courtesy parenthesis beside each key staff's key signature mark to separate it a bit from the rest of the score (see image). Is this possible in MuseScore 3.6?

Thanks so much,
- Rob

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I don't know if there is a better way, I used Ctrl+T, then selected the rest and from Inspector adjusted the offset. I think you will have to do the same for each staff.

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RobTest.mscz 11.47 KB

In reply to by RobHunter123

It isn't as much work as you think. Add your parenthesis on each line using Ctrl+T but don't worry about font or positioning details. Then go back to the first one, style and position as you wish, then use the "set as style" options in the Inspector to make them all magically jump into place. Templates will make this even quicker.

In reply to by Brer Fox

Well, I tried it. I'm not crazy about this method though. It looked somewhat okay for some bars but for others (e.g., if they start with a multi-measure rest) it looks awful. It also has to be repositioned for instruments in different keys. Basically, its more work than its worth.

Thanks for the reply. I think I'll submit this as a "feature request."

In reply to by RobHunter123

I agree with the more work than it's worth, but I'd say also that would continue to be true even if it were a simple toggle. The centuries-old standard in music notation is simply have a little space after the key signature, no additional separator, and this is exactly what MuseScore does by default. I don't see why omitting the clef should suddenly cause one to need something else after the key signature. True, a few handwritten charts here and there may do this, but that's a personal affectation of those particular copyists, not something I'd recommend emulating.

FWIW, I also personally recommend against omitting the clef. The saved space is seldom worth the potential for confusion when one considers lead sheets that might include bass lines here and there as well. I think the real reason back in the old days people would omit clefs (and keys!) was to make it easy to just draw barlines in to divide the system into four equal-width measures, and then go back and fill notes in. Spacing ended up being incorrect as a result, but it's easier than pre-calculating the correct measure widths for the music to be entered. Now, the software can do that for you too. But, there is another benefit to at least partially equalize measure widths, and that's to make sure the chord symbol spacing makes sense. Still, omitting the clef and key doesn't really affect that when using notation.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, thank you for your thoughtful and thorough remarks (I'm a huge fan of your tutorial videos, by the way). Because I always "upscale" my parts, there are times when I simply need as much horizontal space as I can get to accommodate a specific formatting (like four bars across for lead sheets). After playing with the various spacing and stretch functionality of MuseScore, I thought this might be a way to help.

I'll still consider omitting the clef for charts in C/Am, but there is no possibility of confusion over clefs. My charts change keys once in a while but no part has ever changed a clef; that's just not what I do.

Anyway, I'm a long-time Finale user planning to make the move to MuseScore, so I'm kicking the tires right now. It's a very impressive program!

In reply to by RobHunter123

It can be a way to help, indeed. Sorry if I came off as saying there is never a reason for it. But, I think people often assume it's a good thing just because it was a quick-and-easy way to get reasonable results back in the old pencil-and-paper days, without really thinking through whether it still makes sense today. It might in some cases, but in most, it doesn't.

At the default sizes, you can easily fit four measures full of eighth notes in a system even with a six-flat key signature. You can even go up to a 2 mm staff space (8 mm staff). So it should be pretty uncommon to have a lead sheet that truly needs to lose the clef. But that said, if it happens for a sizable percentage of your lead sheets, you probably don't want to switch back and forth between clef and no-clef. Personally, I'd recommend just choosing a slightly smaller staff size for those few scores, or going with three measures for them - that's what we usually did in the Real Book project. I worked on a number of volumes of that series. The first omitted the clef and key just like the old illegal editions, but subsequent ones added them back.

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