Key Signature dialog box

How to get there

Choose the Key Signature tool icon, and double-click the measure at which you want the key to change. (There are a variety of other ways to access this dialog box; you can arrive at it from any dialog box or menu with a Set Key or Change Key command.)

What it does

This dialog box contains a scrolling list of key signatures from which you can select a key (to change keys in your document, or for a variety of other purposes). You can also specify whether or not you want the notes transposed into the new key (disabled when choosing a Keyless key signature), and what range of measures you want to affect. Finale defaults to the key of C Major in the few cases where Finale needs a default setting. This dialog box also provides a gateway to Finale’s nonstandard key signature capabilities.

  • [Scrolling key display]. Click the top scroll bar arrow to add sharps (or subtract flats) from the displayed key signature. Click the bottom arrow to add flats (or subtract sharps). As you scroll through the Circle of Fifths, the key name is identified in the lower-left corner ("C major," and so on).
  • Major Key • Minor Key • Keyless • Nonstandard Key. Using this dropdown menu, you can specify which key system you want to use. Finale treats major and minor keys differently—notably in its treatment of accidentals (when transcribing a performance) and in handling chord symbols, where the root of the A minor scale, for example, is called scale degree 1 (instead of scale degree 6, as it would be in the key of C major). Keyless systems do not have a key signature and follow the selections made in the Enharmonic Spelling submenu. See Keyless scores for more information. A nonstandard key signature is any key signature or key system that doesn’t adhere to the traditional, Western, circle-of-fifths key system. See Nonstandard Key Signature dialog box for details.
  • Hide key signature and show all accidentals. Use this option to hide the key signature for a selected region in favor of automatically showing accidentals. If you have selected a region that contains both key signatures with this option enabled and disabled, the check box appears shaded or as a filled square, indicating the mixed options. Key signatures with this option selected can be programmed as a Metatool.
  • Measure Region: Measure ___ Through ___ • Measure ___ Through End of Piece • Measure ___ To Next Key Change. Using these controls, specify what range of measures you want to affect with this key change. Click Measure ___ Through ___ if you want the new key to affect all measures up to (and including) a later measure. If you want the new key to remain in force from the measure you clicked to the end of the piece, click the middle option. If you want the new key until the next measure of a different key, click the lower option. In all of the text boxes, Finale proposes the number of the measure you originally clicked through the end of the piece; in other words, if you click OK without changing any numbers, the key changes through the end of the piece from the measure you clicked.
  • Transpose Notes: Up • Down. If you select this option, Finale transposes any existing notes (and chord symbols) in the score into the new key, in the direction you select from the dropdown menu.
  • Hold Notes to Original Pitches: Chromatically • Enharmonically. Click this option if you want the pitches to remain the same as they were before you changed the key—in other words, you’re just changing the key signature without affecting the existing notes at all. If you choose Chromatically, the notes maintain their original spelling. If you choose Enharmonically, the existing notes will be re-notated according to the new key. A G sharp in the key of E will become an A flat in the key of E flat.)
  • Hold Notes to Same Staff Lines (Modally). Click this option if you want the music to remain modal—in other words, if you want each note to remain on the same line or space without adding any accidentals. An F in the key of C will become an F sharp in the key of D, because there’s an F sharp in the key signature—but no new accidental will appear.
  • Transpose All Keys Proportionally. Select this option if you want Finale to preserve the relationships between any existing key-signature changes. Each key signature (in the range of measures you’ve specified) will be transposed up or down by the same interval as the measure you originally clicked. (If you don’t select this option, Finale wipes out any key changes, and notates all the specified measures in the key signature you’ve specified at the top of the dialog box.)
  • Wrap Keys if Necessary. Use this option to prevent unintended and unnecessarily complex key changes. This option defaults to checked and is only available when Transpose All Keys Proportionally is selected. Finale remembers this setting for the rest of the session. When checked, Wrap Keys if Necessary prevents keys with double sharps and flats such as A sharp major (10 sharps) from occurring during proportional key changes. By default you’ll get B flat instead of A sharp.
  • OK • Cancel. Click OK to confirm your choice of new key and return to the score, where the key changes according to your specifications. Click Cancel to return to the score without changing the key.

Tip: Select Transpose All Keys Proportionally to maintain the modulations as you change the key.

See also:

Key signatures

Utilities menu