A common convention in jazz and standard lead sheets produced in the style of The Real Book is to display the clef and key signature only at the beginning of the first system of the chart:
This style likely was a result of a shortcut to eliminate the laborious task of hand-copying these markings onto each and every line. Even though modern scorewriters automate this task, some still prefer the style of the hand-copied charts. Indeed, even the authorized sixth edition of The Real Book, for which the music was set on computer, replicates this style.
The wisdom of setting music in a way that arguably increases the likelihood of error is debatable, but should you wish to do so, here’s how in the two most common notation programs.
Finale offers better built-in support for this feature than Sibelius does. First, go to Document > Document Options… > Clefs. Check “Display Clef Only on First Staff System”:
Do the same for Document > Document Options… > Key Signatures. Check “Display Key Signature Only on First Staff System”:
To force barlines to display at the beginning of each system, go to Document > Document Options… > Barlines and be sure to check “Left Barlines: Display on Single Staves”:
You’ll have a chart that looks like this:
(Update: Eagle-eyed reader and Sibelius expert Bob Zawalich pointed out that the Finale example shown above has a left barline on bar 1, which is not the convention in The Real Book style. To switch off this left barline for bar 1 only, select bar 1, go to Edit > Edit Measure Attributes… and in the “Left Barline” row, select “Invisible”.)
Sibelius doesn’t offer quite the same document-level support for this style that Finale does, although the feature has been requested. With a little ingenuity, though, it can be accomplished.
First, triple-click the staff to select it for the entire piece. Once you type Q or go to Notations > Clef, you’ll want to go to the bottom of the clef gallery and select “More Options”. Here, you’ll bring up the old-style Clef dialog from Sibelius 6 and earlier.
Choose your clef and be sure to uncheck “Draw on subsequent staves”:
Next, make a passage selection for your entire staff, except for the first bar (in other words, from bar 2 through the rest of the piece). Select Home > Select > Filter > Bar Numbers, and open Home > Inspector. Even if you’re not displaying bar numbers in your score, do this anyway, although nothing will appear to be selected!
In the Inspector, uncheck Key signature:
Finally, in Appearance > House Style > Engraving Rules > Barlines, be certain that “Barline at start of single staves” is checked:
Your chart will look like this:
Whether you use Finale or Sibelius to create your lead sheet, keep that key signature in your memory when you play the song at your next gig!
Updated 12:28 pm to reflect Bob Zawalich’s observations.