Beaming problem?

• Oct 29, 2014 - 00:39

I think I may have come across a problem with beaming. I've been using the Musescore 2 Beta (which is great btw). When entering a string of 32nd notes the beaming does not appear to be correct. Can anyone verify? And, if it is a problem, is there a solution?


Can you post the score you are having problems with?

I just entered a full measure of 32nd notes into the first measure of the default "My First Score" and it looks fine to me - four large beam groups (one for each beat), each such group containing eight not eighth!) notes subdivided into two groups of 4. That is pretty standard I think, and it is just as shown in the Time Signature Properties if you right click the 4/4 at the beginning of the score. If you prefer a different beam grouping, you can alter the defaults for the score in that dialog. You can also override beaming note-by-note using the Beam Properties palette.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

First, thanks for the tips on using beam properties and time signature properties. Both of those would enable me to solve my problem.

With the above options, the problem about which I initial posted probably isn't a bug, but simply a matter of beaming practice. I don't claim to be an expert on beaming and I could very easily be wrong in my interpretation. With that said, I've uploaded an example that I hope illustrates the issue.

Bars 9 and 13 are the same, but obviously use different beaming. I altered the standard beaming in Bar 13 using your tips. Is the standard beaming Bar 17 correct?

Thanks for a great product, you guys rock!

Attachment Size
Beaming problem ex.mscz 1.85 KB

In reply to by bayhilljim

As with many matters of notation, there is no single "correct", just different personal preferences in different siutations. To me, beaming 32nd's in 4/4 time the way MuseScore does by default seems the "best" method, and perhaps the most common overall, but there is plenty of variation within the published literature, so clearly different editors//engravers have different preferences.

In your example, ms 9 is the default, and as I said, that is the best to me. It groups the 32nd's in groups of four, which is the same way we normally group 8ths and 16ths, and then also clarifies each beat. This is ideal.

ms13 is less clear because it has 8 notes on a single beam. We don't normally beam eighths or sixteenths that way; why should we for 32nd's? Reading music is very much about pattern recognition, so it helps a lot to beam in ways that reinforce the basic patterns that underly all music. For example, there are only 8 possible rythmic arrangements of four notes in a group, and these are a heck of a lot easier to learn than the 128 possible arrangements of 8 notes! On the other hand, if you never intend to do anything but put all 8 32nds in a beat - you never intend to mix the 32nds with 16ths or 8ths and never intend to include any rests - then ms13 is an acceptable substitute, because that at least is still reaosnably obvious. It's as soon as you try intermixing note values that the value of the four-to-a-group beaming becomes more clear.

ms17 completely obscures both the rhythms within the measure and also the basic beats - you can't even tell which note appears on beat 2, for instance. This is OK only if the actual rhythmic content of the grouping is not important but you just want to express the idea of a playing that many notes in the measure and you are giving the performer the freedom to interpret it however you want - something you might see in late Romantic era music a lot.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks Marc.

I understand.

Is there are reason why this logic is not followed with 64th notes? In the file that I posted, the creation of the 64th notes (bar 17) was done using the MuseScore2 default. Why does it make sense to group 32nd notes into subsets of 4 but not group 64th notes into subsets? This is probably not a MuseScore question, but rather one of notation standards.

My personal preference would actually be to follow the convention of grouping of 4 32nd notes (just as you mentioned above) but to use a different beam to connect a following group of 4 32nd notes. Say a thin line or perhaps an inverted V. The beam that is used now is the same as that used for an eighth note but it is not intended to convey any time value. (I'll be sure to pass this absolutely brilliant idea along to the global notation standards committee the next time they ask me to present at one of their meetings;^)

Thanks for your clarifications.

In reply to by bayhilljim

Oh, sorry, actually, I didn't look closely and didn't realize those were 64th notes!

There's probably no good reason these are not broken up except that automatic beaming is only implemented for 8ths, 16ths and 32nds. 64ths apparently you need to beam yourself. They tend to be rare of course, except in situations just like I mentioned (streams of notes note really meant to be played in time) where you probably don't want them broken up. A lame excuse, I agree, but realistically, probably no an issue in real life very often. Especially now that you know how to override the defaults.

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