All grace notes beams are too long/tall?

• Aug 25, 2020 - 11:49

As titled with:
Libiamo ne' lieti calici, La traviata (Verdi, Giuseppe).mscz
all grace notes beams are too long/tall?

There are too many of them, besides manually correcting them one by one, is there a way to edit them shorter together once?


These things tend to be subjective, but FWIW, Gould says 2.25 staff spaces is the correct default length, and this seems in keeping with what we do. I could imagine someday providing a style setting to specify a different default if you like.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"...Gould says 2.25 staff spaces is the correct default length, and this seems in keeping with what we do"
I'm away from home so I can't refer to Gould's "Behind Bars". But I agree with the OP that those 1/16th grace notes with beams have stems which are too long. On the other hand I don't think that the grace notes with flags would benefit from shortening the stems.

Is Gould's stem-length recommendation for normal chords rather than cue-sized notes or grace notes? I have often found it necessary to manually reduce the default stem length of beamed cue notes because they were too long.

In reply to by mike320

FWIW, I'm also looking through the scores at my disposal, and so far the first dozen or so I've looked at all support this basic idea of grace note stems being about 2 - 2.5 sp long by default, with most coming in right around the middle of that range. I see some shortened further when needed to tuck within beam groups, or when outside the staff, but in general, both single and grouped grace notes have stems about that long pretty universally in the examples I am looking at. This represents a variety of different publishers, eras, and genres, and includes other respected sources like the New Harvard Dictionary. So I kind of doubt you'll find much disagreement that this is the right default. I suspect that any room for improvement is mostly going to come in identifying the special cases where it does make sense to shorten the stems further.

EDIT: one other thing I see is there are special cases where we actually lengthen the stem beyond 2.25 sp, like for beamed groups where the pitch change requires a sloping beam. No doubt that's something we could improve along with the stem lengths for all beamed groups.

In reply to by geetar

Absolutely, good call! I hope everyone with a stake in this can read over my analysis here as well as @geetar's analysis in that issue and see if we agree on what the problem actually is. Then it becomes possible to work toward a solution.

To summarize:

As far as I can tell, the basic default stem length is correct, it is consistent with Gould and the vast majority of published music, except in certain cases involving beamed grace notes that seems to depend on whether notes are on lines or spaces. In those cases, the beams are too long and that's something that should be fixed.

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