Beam height

Shouldn’t this beam, be about the same height as the dotted quarter note stem?

I think the beam could be raised about a space.
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Those stems get shortened because we try not to have beams leaving slivers of white space immediately outside the staff, so if a beam is going to end within half a space of the outer staff line, we snap it; in this case, we snap it inwards. The stems of the As are 3 spaces long, which is a little short, but of course this forces the stems of the Bs to be 2.5 spaces long, which is very nearly the shortest stem that Dorico will allow.

Dorico won’t lengthen the stems in this situation because it doesn’t need to make the stems of the As longer than their ideal length in order to satisfy both the condition that the beam snaps to a valid location and that none of the stems of the notes under the beam are too short.

I agree that we might want to include some further options to give more choice here. I’ll talk to James (our beaming expert) about it this week.

I see what you are saying. And that makes sense. And I agree the half space sliver of white would be weird to look at. I went through Behind Bars last night, looking for examples, and couldn’t 100% find one that justified my thoughts. Your logic makes sense. In my mind, I would lengthen the stems of the As to match the default height of the B.

Keep in mind, this whole idea could be from looking at poorly notated music for the better part of 26 years or so.


I don’t think so, Robby! What I think is that no single set of rules can cater for every situation, and that although we do our best to go to the nth degree to make Dorico make the best choices we can think of, in the end, some things just look right or wrong in context. When I have spoken at length about this with experienced engravers, especially those who learned their skills in the days prior to computer engraving, they always emphasise that they will make decisions about beam positions and slopes that are of course based on the common practice rules, but always tweaked for the situation at hand. One of the biggest issues they identify is visual continuity and consistency.

It’s hard to argue that Dorico’s results here produce either of these qualities, which I think means that we should probably try to come up with a way of improving them further, but I’m not at this stage sure of what form such an improvement should or could take.

I completely understand…

Maybe this is for several version down the road (say v3 or v4), but maybe an option to right click on the beam, and change the stem length based on a certain note(s) under the beam?

Either way, I can still drag it higher in engrave mode. So it certainly is not a priority.