automatic beam options

• Jan 15, 2010 - 19:23

I'd like to request a feature by which I can change the default beaming. At the moment, in 4/4 time, if you have 8 quavers in a bar, MuseScore beams them together in 2 groups of 4. I was taught that in 4/4 you should beam quavers in pairs - and I much prefer the look of this on the page. I've figured out how to turn off beaming altogether, but that's not much use to me, and I've figured out how to manually alter the beam to give me what I want, but this is really time consuming since the vast majority of my music is in 4/4 and has quavers - I end up going through pages and pages clicking on all those 2nd and 4th beat quavers and double clicking the "start beam here" icon.

So I would like to be able to click an option somewhere that says automatic beam: all quavers in a bar beamed together, 4 quavers beamed together, 2 quavers beamed together, no beaming (or something along those lines) so I can set the default and not worry about it any more.

PS sorry about the British terminology - hope you get what I mean!


I'm sorry I can't answer your question, others here will be a great help-.

However, I am interested in your comment about having the eighths grouped in 2s. I've never heard that before and I wonder if you could please point me to a reference where I can study this?

Thanks and regards.

In reply to by gabslambrick

Occasionally I've seen published scores break the beams at every beat in 4/4. I don't remember exactly which scores but I think they were pop music rather than classical.

The ability to edit the default beaming is a feature that MuseScore will need eventually--particularly for more obscure time signatures which don't have a default beaming.

It would be good if the UI for changing default beaming drew from the UI for manual beam changes (that way users will already be familiar with how to use it). For example the Default Beaming dialog could show a measure of eighth notes. To change the defaults you would drag-and-drop start, middle, and end beams just like you might for a normal score. The dialog would also need an option to switch to a measure of 16th notes, 32nd notes, etc., because the default beaming is sometimes different for shorter notes.

Actually, using 0.9.5, I never could beam eight semiquavers into two groups: four linked with two beams, as the other four, and one beam linking the two groups, no matter what I did.

Hosam Adeeb Nashed

I know this is a very old thread but I didn't see anyone explain the value of this feature even if it doesn't conform to common music notation theory.

Jazz lead sheets very often beam eighth notes in pairs even when the time signature is 4/4. Take a look at the three volumes of Hal Leonard "Real Books". These books are very popular with jazz musicians and they have a couple of thousand lead sheets notated this way.

The reason is that eighth note pairs in jazz are usually "swung", meaning that the duration of first eighth is a little long and the second is a little short. Of course, there are other ways to notate the same thing (triplets with ties for example) but they are time consuming to write and greatly clutter the lead sheet. Thus the eighth note beaming has become a common convention among jazz musicians.

Therefore I think automatic eighth note pair beaming would be a nice option for a future release of this great product

In reply to by aboxer

Actually, I think you're mistaken about the Hal Leonard Real Book series - I did some of the editing work for those and the rule was definitely 4+4. However, if the first eighth of a group is a rest, that series would not beam the remaining three eighths together whereas some editions would - that is perhaps what you are thinking of? FWIW, the Chuck Sher "New Real Book" series does the exact same thing with respect to groups of 4 eighths, but if the first is an eighth, they *do* beam the other three together.

Anyhow. if you do wish to beam in groups of twos, this will indeed be possible to set up by default in the next major version of MuseScore.

I see lead sheets from so many sources, I should have checked before citing Hal Leonard as an example. In fact, I went back over a lot of material and two note beaming (where four is possible) does not happen as often as I thought.

So, as an engineer, I now say that if the two note automatic beaming option is easy to implement then go for it. Otherwise, skip it in favor of more useful features.

In reply to by aboxer

:-) As mentioned, it's already implemented for 2.0, which will be the next major release. Not just a on option for two or four note beaming in 4/4, but full control over the default beaming for every time signature. Working on an arrangement of Blue Rondo a la Turk? Set the default 9/8 beaming for that score to be 2+2+2+3. And so on.

Being able to beam eighth notes in 2s would be a very helpful feature. As a music teacher, I first introduce eighth notes in groups of 2s. Young children have a hard time understanding fractions, so it's easier to teach a quarter note as "1 apple" and 2 eighth notes as "2 halves of an apple."

Here is an example of a teaching piece where I want to be able to have this feature:
beam eighth notes.jpg

In the current version of musescore, typing in these eight notes would automatically beam them into four plus four. Click on the "beam properties" in the palette of commands so that the beam properties buttons are visible. Click on the third note and notice that the "beam properties" button "AUTO" is turned blue. That means that this note is being beamed automatically as one of a set of whatever number is appropriate (in this case, groups of four). Having just single clicked on the third note, then DOUBLE click the "Beam properties" icon that looks like the beginning of a beam. This will break the set of four into two sets of two. Do the same for the seventh note to break the second set of four into two pairs. etc. etc. Note, to reverse this, click on the third and seventh notes and DOUBLE click the AUTO button (hold down the Cntrl key on your computer keyboard to pick more than one note at a time). Double clicking what I think of as the "middle of a beam somewhere" button ought to work also. As I recall, I had a lot of trouble with beam properties until I realized that these buttons only work when NOT in note entry mode, and do not work when single clicked.

If you somehow have arrived within musescore with eight notes that look like your example, clicking the first note and then DOUBLE clicking the "begin beam" icon/button should work.

In reply to by jonnwetzel

For the record, double click is not unique to the Beam Properties palette. *All* palette items work by double click. Also, these commands work in note input mode too. After entering a note, that note is selected automatically, and applying a beam property at that point works exactly the same as doing it outside of note input mode.

Still, if you want your eighth notes beamed in twos consistently, it is easier to just change the defaults as described in the Handbook under "Time signature" than to have to override beams all over the place.

I don't know if someone has given you the answer yet and I know it has been 5 years since this was posted but.... You can do what you are after you have to go to 'view' then click 'master pallete' the click 'time signatures' in the list, it will automatically be on 4/4 but if it isn't then just click 4/4 and then there are 3 little boxes that enable you to change how the notes are grouped. For example if you click the 3 quaver in the box it will detach from the first 2 quavers and just carry on that process.

In answer to what you and someone else said about note groupings of 2 and 4 quavers. Logically in classical music the strong beats are 1 and 3 so it would make sense to have a space where the start of the next accented note is i.e. 1 + 2 + (space) 3 + 4 + (space). Whereas in pop and rock music the snare drum often falls on beat 2 and 4 so those are the accented beats i.e 1 + (space) 2 + (space) 3 + (space) 4 + (space). It would look messy if the score was 1 + (space) 2 + 3 + (space) 4 +. It's easier for the performer more than anything. I hope that helps.

Ryan Mannix

I completely concur with gabslambrick - having the ability to change the default beam grouping is a definite must. Really enjoying this software tho!

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