Cancelling auto beaming

• Aug 29, 2021 - 13:26

I have been trying to write some vocal music recently, and rather than have beaming turned on, I'd really like to have it turned off completely for the vocal parts. Othewise I have to input the notes, then go through each vocal part turning the beaming off.

Is this easy to do? Can it be done on a per part basis - as beaming might still be required for instrumental parts in the same piece?


Note that the modern standard is to still beam normally even for vocal music. But if you are specifically trying to recreate the look of older editions that used to show individual flags for each syllable but beam the melismas, the plugin mentioned does this completely automatically. That is, syllables that should have broken beams are broken, melisma syllables are beamed where appropriate. So yes, definitely you need to have the lyrics first otherwise it won't know which bams to break and which not. But again, it's completely automatic at that point.

If you are going to the old-style look but prefer to join beams for melismas manually for whatever reason, you can set the default beaming to none in the time signature properties as described in the handbook sections on beaming and on time signatures. Then you can use beam properties normally to join the beams for the melismas.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

That's interesting. I don't know enough about singing and singers to know what they would prefer.

I am currently working on a vocal part which originates from around 1900, and it has been written out with individual flags. I assumed that would be desirable - but perhaps not - if singers can cope with the more modern styles.

Lyrics - maybe a good idea - but I've not got round to those yet. If there are going to be any they may not be the same as the ones in the original language. Maybe I can just set everything to "la-la-la-la" or even "la-la-la-and"!

In reply to by dave2020X

"I don't know enough about singing and singers to know what they would prefer."
Nor do I... but I can sum up the two different approaches to beaming:
- traditional vocal beaming uses the presence of a beam to show where a syllable covers two or more notes
- modern beaming more clearly shows the beats in the measure, and relies on slurs instead when a syllable covers two or more notes

In reply to by dave2020X

Probably most singers these days are comfortable with either style in many cases. But more important would be to consider the nature of the music. The traditional un-beamed style developed back in a day when rhythms tended to be pretty simple, so beaming as an aid to quickly reading them wasn't so necessary. Music that employs much syncopation and other more complex rhythms benefits from proper beaming, whether you are a vocalist or instrumentalist.

I'd say if you are writing a hymn in 19th century style, by all means, use the old-style unbeamed notation if you prefer. but if the music itself is more modern, best to stick to modern notation as well.

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