How can I set 4/4 time signature properties to beam dotted rhythms in 2 beat groups?

• Jan 18, 2022 - 16:49

Is it possible to set the time signature properties so that if I have four groups of dotted quaver-semiquavers they are grouped in pairs rather than separately.

I want this

Rather than this

The time signature properties indicate that quavers should be grouped in fours and that indeed happens but not the dotted rhythms. I tried ticking the "Also change shorter notes" box but that has no effect and indeed the setting does not seem to be saved as it is unticked again when I reopen the time signature properties.


I am transcribing a piece that has bars and bars of dotted rhythms and adjusting the beam properties on each group is going to be tedious.

Am I missing something obvious?


Well, you can set sixteenths to beam in groups of eighths, and this would ripple up to dotted eighth / sixteenth rhythms. But presumably you don't actually want sixteenth beamed in eights, so now you'd have to override the beaming when that happens. I guess you could try to gauge which rhythm is more common in this piece, and set your defaults accordingly then override the others.

Either way, I definitely recommend defining shortcuts for the beam start and beam middle commands, as well as no beam. I have them as Ctrl+, (start) Ctrl+. (middle) and Ctrl+/ (no).

I'd also recommend at least considering accepting the defaults, which are not wrong. These are two valid ways of notating the same rhythm, so unless there is a special reason to make the same subjective editorial decision the original engraver did, consider going with the path of least resistance.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The piece I am dealing with is more of a shuffle than a military two-step and so the two beat groups reflect the phrasing better. I bit the bullet and used the apply last pallet item feature to join the groups manually. Shortcuts for beaming is a good idea. I will see what key combinations I have left available.

I think it would be useful to be able to set such "alternative" beam groups in TS properties, but as it ain't going to happen before we see MS4 I will hold off on the feature request

In reply to by SteveBlower

Meanwhile, here's a thought: if this is a shuffle, then I assume this rhythm is pretty pervasive and more or less replaces standard eighths. BTW, note you could simply notate eighths then add the "swing" text and set it to a shuffle rhythm - depending on the context and the reader,r that might really be the best option. But assuming you want to preserve the given notation, the issue is pretty much, dotted eighths on beats 2 & 4, right? So, how about going right-clicking one such note, Select / More, then check both "Same duration" and "Same beat", then join them all in one operation? Do that once for beat 2, again for beat 4, and the whole piece is done in seconds. Sorry if you already did it the long way...

This trick would work if the piece is really consistently about that rhythm. Downside is, you'd also ending up creating this, which you probably wouldn't want and would then need to fix manually:

Screenshot 2022-01-19 7.26.21 AM.png

But if it's really a straight shuffle, those rhythms probably won't come up very often.

In reply to by xavierjazz

Good suggestion! I can use a 2/2 time signature but put 4/4 in the "Appearance" section which gives the appearance I am looking for. But it beams everything in 2 beat groups like this


And as Marc suggested, I probably don't want that second group beamed that way. In my current case I can live with it though.

It is certainly not clear from the TS properties dialogue what the user is going to end up with after adjusting the default beaming and it seems impossible to define some of the "sensible" beaming schemes. I will give this some deep thought and I hope to come back later with suggestions for improving the default beaming options. This probably needs to include consideration of beaming for pick-ups which has been discussed in other threads.

In reply to by xavierjazz

Yes 2/2 makes a difference. If you look at a cut common TS properties it is actually 2/2 but with the cut common text option selected.

Why insist on 4/4? Because I am transcribing a single part from a multi instrument hard copy score that will be played with others who have original hard copy parts. (Basically I am replacing a missing part from a band set.} All the "landmarks" need to agree with the other parts so that when the MD says "Go from the 4/4" everyone starts from the same place.

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