The debate of whether F# or Gb is a better key is very prominent, but I'd like to discuss the keys of B and Cb.
As a guitar player, I would much rather have the key of B to play in. As a trombonist, the same key makes me cringe wildly. And as a pianist I am impartial to both, although playing in Cb is more comfortable and easier with accidentals.
String players have told me that they would rather play in B, and that seems reasonable to me, as a guitar player myself I can understand that string players often prefer to play with sharps instead of flats in their repertoire.
The brass players I've talked to have told me that, while they fully expect a chart to be written in B major, they would much rather play in the key of Cb major.
I have also had this discussion with my piano teacher, when pitting G# minor against Ab minor. I don't know how common each key is, but he did say that he prefers Ab minor, and the biggest reason why is that when you have a dominant seventh in the key of G#m, it's D#7 which has a nasty Fx. Compare that to the more lenient Eb7 of Abm.
What are your thoughts? I assume that in a popularity contest, because Cb is such an obscure key, B will win, but I wanted thoughts on the playability, practicality and convenience of each.
** I am talking in the context of 12-TET, and not an other tuning where the difference between two semitones is varied for each key.
- Quickly want to add that in most orchestral music that is in the key of B major, if there is a harp part for it it would be written in Cb, as it is considered the home key of the instrument.