Key signatures

Dave Payn

Active Member
After the entertaining thread by Peter Bale on the Random forum enitiled 'What key signature are you?'. A serious (ish) question. Was it merely for space or printing costs that a number of marches and even some carol/hymn books, only contain the key signature at the beginning of the piece (except when, in the marches, the key changes at the Trio section, not to be printed again thereafter).

This has been bugging me for years, (I mean, I've had plenty of trouble in the past as it is convincing players to read key signatures that are printed on ALL the bleedin' staves!) but I thought I'd share it with fellow tMP-ites to see what you think about it.

Hardly worth worrying about, I know, but there you go!

Regards
 

Lisa

Member
yeah, that can be quite annoying - sometimes i forget what key i'm in ( :roll: ) so i look at the beginning of the line. Its really annoying if the key sig isn't there as, by the time my eyes have gone all the way to the top of the page to find the key signature, i have lost where i'm supposed to be playing! :x
 

Brian Bowen

Active Member
Key signatures appeared only at the beginning and at key changes for space-saving reasons in music published by the SA in the past (I don't know about now). This was mainly when a lot of music had to be crammed onto a march card format with no page turns (for use when marching, etc.). Clefs also only appeared at the beginning. Many of today's players, particularly professionals, are surprised at just how small the stave size used to be on much of the old music and the density of notation. Xerox enlargements nowadays bring some relief.
 

Dave Euph

Member
Yep, constantly annoys me too ... I always refer to the beginning of a line to remind myself what key I'm in ... C Major, no prob ... bang ...
 

Accidental

Supporting Member
James McFadyen said:
Brian Bowen said:
Xerox enlargements nowadays bring some relief.
I'm sure the publishers will be happy to hear that! :wink:
Surely if the originals are bought and paid for, making a copy for your own benefit isn't hurting anyone?!

We use the old green SA carol books and they drive me nuts - no key sigs on new lines, the next carol starting in the middle of the page, tiny print... honestly you'll be asking me to concentrate next :shock:

Seriously though, it is a pain, especially if the key changes during a piece. It also really p's me off when composers don't use a key sig at all and throw loads of accidentals in - I know and understand all the techy arguments for doing this, but I think there's a stronger argument for readability and user-friendliness!
 

andyp

Active Member
Accidental said:
Seriously though, it is a pain, especially if the key changes during a piece. It also really p's me off when composers don't use a key sig at all and throw loads of accidentals in - I know and understand all the techy arguments for doing this, but I think there's a stronger argument for readability and user-friendliness!
That's a pet hate of mine too, and I think a lot of it's down to the use of computer software to write/print the music. I also hate it when the accidentals are non-logical, i.e. they don't help suggest whether the pitch is going up or down (the use of top A# in a run rather than top Bb is one I've had in a test-piece recently). I've had to re-write many bars in test-pieces to make them more user-friendly!
 

HBB

Active Member
Accidental said:
James McFadyen said:
Brian Bowen said:
Xerox enlargements nowadays bring some relief.
I'm sure the publishers will be happy to hear that! :wink:
Surely if the originals are bought and paid for, making a copy for your own benefit isn't hurting anyone?!
Cue Mr. Thorne or Mr. Payn ... :)
 

stephen2001

Member
No matter whether a key signiture is on at the beginning of a line or not, I am nearly always garunteed to miss even the most obvious of key changes!
I admit, it is a bit of a pain if they aren't at the start of the line, but when you've learnt the piece, it dosen't become quite so much of an issue really
 
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