Alternate Key Signatures for Transposing Instruments

One thing we take for granted with music notation programs is that, for transposing instruments in a transposing score, the software automatically displays the correct key signature and transposes by the appropriate interval.

Most of the time, we don’t have to think about it. Both Sibelius and Finale will even, by default, “wrap” the key signature of the transposing instrument to prevent unnecessarily complex or remote key changes, ensuring that, for instance, an Alto Sax playing in the concert key of B major will display the key signature of A flat instead of a very unusual G sharp.

Occasionally, though, we need to display an enharmonic key signature other than the one the program chooses. Consider a B flat Clarinet playing in the concert key of E major. Both Sibelius and Finale will show the transposed key as F sharp (6 sharps), but we may want the key instead to be G flat (6 flats). Here’s how to do it:

more >> “Alternate Key Signatures for Transposing Instruments”

Installing and using plug-ins in Sibelius 7

My colleague Philip Rothman of NYC Music Service posted this excellent Youtube video tutorial I want to share with you. In the tutorial, Philip walks through how to install and manage Sibelius 7 plug-ins from within the program.


He also covers these six very useful and free-for-download plug-ins:

  1. Edit Part Instrument Names
  2. Exchange Staff Contents
  3. Fill Selection With Slash Notes
  4. Harp Gliss
  5. Add LV Symbols to Notes (requires Sibelius 7)
  6. Open Selected Parts (requires Sibelius 7)

With the exception of Add LV Symbols to Notes and Open Selected Parts, the plugins covered in the video tutorial can also be used with Sibelius 6, by downloading from the direct links above. Sibelius 7 users can download the plugins directly from within Sibelius, as outlined by Philip in his Youtube tutorial.

Philip currently owns and authors the Sibeliusblog website, which is a great resource for Sibelius tips and tutorials.