Cautionary key signatures

When a key signature change occurs at a system break, either in the score or in a part, the new key signature is shown at the end of the first system as well as at the start of the new system.

This is sometimes considered a “cautionary key signature”, as players become used to seeing the key signature at the start of the system and therefore may miss a change of key signature if it is not conspicuously shown at the end of systems. It is also known as a “courtesy key signature”.

In Dorico Elements, the key signatures shown at the end of one system and at the start of the next system are the same item, not separate items. You can hide cautionary key signatures, either individually or by default in each flow.


We recommend using flows for separate spans of music. Dorico Elements does not show cautionary key signatures or time signatures between flows.