Okay, I have a pretty niche topic for you today. Someone recently asked me: “How do I set up my score to not use key signatures, but to instead show all accidentals next to the notes?” It seems like keyless scores are becoming a convention in modern atonal music, or for scores with frequently changing tonal centers. Here’s how I’d suggest accomplishing this in Finale:
- Begin the piece in the key of C (with no sharps or flats).
- Select the Staff tool and double-click on the top most transposing staff (clarinet, for example).
- Next to Transposition, click the Select button, then change Transposition from “Key Signature” to “Chromatic,” and click OK twice.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each transposing staff in your score.
I always like to write the “steps” first because it really IS that easy. However, most of us don’t know what these steps MEAN. So, let me explain:
1. Begin the piece in the key of C (with no sharps or flats).
Well, okay, that’s pretty self explanatory; if you’re beginning your score from the Setup Wizard, leave the default key signature as-is, showing no sharps or flats.
2. Select the Staff tool and double-click on the top most transposing staff (clarinet, for example).
The icon for the Staff tool looks like a treble clef staff. Click on this, then double-click on the top transposing staff of your score – in my case this would be the clarinet staff. (You can click on the staff handle in the upper left-hand corner of the staff or simply anywhere within the staff lines.)
3. Next to Transposition, click the Select button…
…then change Transposition from “Key Signature” to “Chromatic” and click OK twice.
If you created your score with the Setup Wizard, Key Signature transposition was automatically selected. If you simply click on the Chromatic button, this same transposition interval will be properly retained. Clicking OK twice will return you to your score, where you can specify the next transposing staff.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each transposing staff in your score.
I think that makes sense. Actually, another option, upon changing Transposition from “Key Signature” to “Chromatic,” would be to hit OK once, and then use the up and down arrows at the top of the Staff Attributes dialog box to navigate down to the next transposing staff (in my case, the second clarinet). This would save you a few keystrokes in the end, and I’m all about saving the keystrokes.
Is this helpful? Let me know!