32nd notes with 8-in-a-beam

I’ve got a lengthy passage in mostly 32nd notes, and want all beamed in groups of 8, with the triple beam running through (not broken into 4+4 with a single beam connection). I can do this on a group-by-group basis, but that’s lengthy and cumbersome. Is there a way to set this as a default? I could not find that in notation options. Or any way to do this for a whole set of measures (instead of one group by one group)?
David F

What time signature are you in, David? If you’re in e.g. 4/4 or similar then I’m afraid I don’t think it’s currently possible, because you can only really set the grouping for the primary level, e.g. you could type [1+1+3+2+1]/8 into the Shift+M popover, which would produce a 8/8 time signature, but with eighths grouped as 1, 1, 3, 2, 1 instead of the default 3, 3, 2. However, what you can’t do is specify what the secondary or even tertiary groupings should be for the durations shorter than the denominator of the time signature.

It’s possible that your specific requirement could be met more simply by the addition of an option that says “however many notes of the same duration you have in a beam, join them all with the same number of beam lines” instead of splitting them up according to the strict hierarchy of the meter.

I suppose I’d like you to tell me more about the specific situations you’re facing here, and then we can think about what might be the best medium-term solution for us to consider.

I’ll speak up, and say I think that would be a great idea. Or better more advanced beam control (maybe something years down the road).

I am working on inputting Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #8 in C min (Op. 13) for you guys to use a demo file to send out (I read someone was upset there wasn’t demo files). And I am running into a difficult rhythm to get the same way they did in the original (Wiener Urtext Edition, by Schott).

Here’s the original engraving…

Here is what I can only get Dorico to reproduce…


Your Beethoven example, Robby, I think can be achieved by choosing the “Allow rests within beams, maintain secondary beams” option at the bottom of the Beam Grouping page in Notation Options.

The only issue with that (and I’ll try it in a few minutes), is that there are times (often in the same piece) where you don’t want that.

Let me play around with it some more.


Hi Daniel, and thanks for responding.

I’m in 3/4 or 4/4 (back and forth), writing 32nd note runs. There are some rests here and there, mostly 32nd, the occasional 1/8 or 1/16. I like beams with stemlets. In situations where a group within a beat begins with a rest, I like the beam NOT to extend to the left. As I’m sure you know, this is one of a few standard ways to handle this situation (and Dorico’s way is also acceptable). I’d rather not, however, be forced to adopt a standard I don’t like and think doesn’t suit the music.

I ended up going through the passage, one beat at a time, selecting the notes with the marquee, and using the cntr-click context dropdown menu to force what I wanted (either force beams or, in situations with stemlets, force stemlet beaming). It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I appreciated having this as an option.

I attached a pdf (page 4 of a four-page work).

As it turns out, the Dorico version of this piece looks fabulous. I was able to get the workaround for this to be OK. If you have a faster workaround, that would be great to know about. Can’t select all the beam groups, as that would put beams across the whole thing!! A fabulous option to have, but not for this situation.

I also found work arounds for using tempo marks in text (but a keyboard map, allowing us to type 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 notes in text boxes using Bravura would be GREATLY appreciated).

I get my result in Finale because they have, in their document options, the following tick boxes (on or off):
Extend beams over rests
Extend secondary beams over rests
Display half stems for beamed rests

I choose the last two, not the first (which would extend the beam over a beginning rest).

Finale also allows beam breaking or joining as you enter notes (using a keystroke).

Thanks again,

Here is the attachment:

You can always adjust it on a case-by-case basis using the ‘Split secondary beam’ property, which allows you to also set how many beam lines should be shown over such a secondary beam break.

Unfortunately, David, your PDF didn’t seem to attach. If it’s bigger than 2MB (seems unlikely for a single page, but you never know!) try zipping it up before you attach it. Failing that, please email it to me at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de and I’d be glad to take a look.

Just posted it. The forum doesn’t allow pdf, so I converted it to png.

By the way – the last two measures of that post spaced beautifully in Dorico the first time I entered them, but in Finale took me about 20 minutes of tweaking to get to come out right.

Thanks, David, I see the example now. It seems reasonable to me that we should have a way of achieving beam groups of eight 32nds in 3/4 and 4/4 without breaking the secondary beam. I’ll talk to James about how we might approach this.

I think you’ve produced a fine-looking page of music there!

Method question: Will copying a passage and repitching with Lock Durations preserve any beaming overrides? (I’m thinking of Sibelius, where they are preserved only when you copy to the same beat of the same meter.) I’m hoping in Dorico they are always preserved, if the defaults can be restored in Properties. (Sorry I can’t just try it out yet.)

I just tried copying, and the overrides are preserved.

It took me a while to discover that “Beaming / Beam Together” repairs broken secondary beams.

I think it would be nice to have a separate menu option for “join secondary beams” (so you could select a long passage and use it without affecting the primary beam breaks), plus an engraving rule to set the default for “never break secondary beams.”

As a Lilypond user, I think trying to allow user-specified rules to define secondary beaming in the general case for arbitrary time signatures is probably more trouble than it’s worth! Having defaults of “secondary beam breaks as in Gould” or “no secondary breaks,” plus the ability to override the default case-by-case (as at present) would make me happy enough.

(Just for fun, here’s the Lilypond documentation of how to define your own rules. Simples … :unamused:)