Beams

Updated 1 month ago

    Multiple notes of less than a quarter note (crotchet) are usually connected with beams. The overall beam pattern is established automatically according to the time signature.

    Adjust automatic note beaming for a time signature

    • Right-click on the time signature and select Time Signature Properties. Then edit "Note Groups" (see Change default beaming).

    Change the beaming of individual notes

    You can overrule the default beaming of any note using beam symbols in the Beam Properties palette of the "Basic" or "Advanced" workspaces:

    Beam Properties Palette (Advanced workspace)

    To change one or more note beams (except feathered beams, below), use one of the following methods:

    • Drag and drop a beam symbol from the Beam Properties palette onto a note in the score.
    • Select one or more notes in the score and double click the desired symbol in the Beam Properties palette.

    To apply feathered note beams, use either of the following methods:

    • Drag and drop a feathered-beam symbol from the Beam Properties palette onto a note beam in the score.
    • Select one or more note beams in the score, then double click on a feathered-beam symbol in the Beam Properties palette.

    Notes: (1) Feathered beams may use 2 or 3 lines depending on the tempo and the desired rate of the change; (2) To create a 2-line feathered beam, you need to start with a continuous run of beamed sixteenth notes; (3) To create a 3-line feathered beam, you need to start with continuous run of beamed thirty-second notes; (4) Playback of feathered beams is not supported.

    Beam symbols and their effects

    Icon Name Description
    "Start beam" icon Beam start If the note is beamed to a previous note, break the beam.
    "Middle of beam" icon Beam middle Create a beam from the selected note to the previous note (if applicable). This applies to Beam 16th sub and Beam 32nd sub as well.
    "No beam" icon No beam Break beams before and after the selected note.
    "16th sub beam" icon Beam 16th sub Start a second level beam at this note.
    "32nd sub beam" icon Beam 32nd sub Start a third level beam at this note.
    "Automatic mode" icon Automatic Beam Apply default beaming as determined by the current time signature (see above).
    "Feathered beam, slower" icon Feathered beam, slower Start feathered beam to indicate gradually slower tempo.
    "Feathered beam, faster" icon Feathered beam, faster Start feathered beam to indicate gradually faster tempo.

    Note: Be aware that the beam between two notes/rests is determined by both of the note/rests. For example: Two consecutive notes with a status of start beam here will not have a beam between them. If the two consecutive notes are willing to connect to each other they will beam, if one of them is not willing, the two notes will not beam.

    Adjust beam angle

    To adjust with the keyboard or mouse:

    1. Enter edit mode on the note beam—the right adjustment handle is automatically selected.
    2. Use the up/down arrows or drag the right end handle to change the angle of the beam;
    3. Press Esc to exit edit mode.

    To adjust with the Inspector:

    1. Click on a note beam.
    2. Tick the "User position" box in the "Beam" section of the Inspector;
    3. Set the "Position" values to get the desired beam angle.

    Adjust beam height

    To adjust with the keyboard or mouse:

    1. Enter edit mode on the note beam—the right adjustment handle is automatically selected.
    2. Press Shift+Tab or click the left handle to select it;
    3. Use the up/down arrows or drag the left end handle to change the height of the beam;
    4. Press Esc to exit edit mode.

    To adjust with the Inspector:

    1. Click on a note beam.
    2. Tick the "User position" box in the "Beam" section of the Inspector;
    3. Set the "Position" values as desired.

    Make beam horizontal

    1. Select a note beam
    2. Tick the "Force Horizontal" box in the "Beam" section of the Inspector;
    3. If desired, adjust the beam height with the keyboard/mouse:

    If you want all note beams in the score to be horizontal there is a "Flatten all beams" option in FormatStyle…Beams.

    Adjust feathered beams

    To adjust feathered beams:

    1. Select a note beam.
    2. Adjust the values in the "Grow left" and "Grow right" boxes in the "Beam" section of the Inspector.

    Local relayout

    MuseScore spaces notes according to their time values, allowing for accidentals, lyrics etc. In systems where there is more than one staff, this may result in irregular note spacing, as in the following example:

    Normal layout

    Local relayout is a tickbox option in the Inspector allowing you to specify those passages in the score where you want the note spacing to be independent of other staves in the system. Applying "Local relayout" to the note beams in the top staff of the previous example results in a more even distribution of notes:

    After applying "Local relayout"

    To do a local relayout:

    1. Select one or more note beams.
    2. Tick the option Local relayout in the "Beam" section of the Inspector.

    Flip note beam

    To flip a beam from above to below the notes, or vice-versa:

    1. Select one or more note beams.
    2. Use any of the following options:
      • Press the X key;
      • Press the "Flip direction" icon, flip_direction.PNG , in the toolbar.
      • Select a "Direction" option (Auto, Up or Down) in the "Beam" section of the Inspector.

    Reset Beam Mode

    To restore beams to the mode defined in the local time signatures:

    1. Select the section of the score you want to reset. If nothing is selected, the operation will apply to the whole score;
    2. Select FormatReset Beams.

    See also

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