Beaming across rests?

Is it possible to beam these highlighted eights together so the beam crosses the quarter rest?


“Beam together” doesn’t do it. I can remove the quarter rest and then it beams. but I want to leave it if possible.

Feels a bit hacky, but at a push, you could always force the rest then switch it into a different voice (and remove the rest in the blue voice).

Screenshot 2021-05-18 at 00.50.13

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I think the second voice is the only way that could make sense. It’s like trying to beam over a quarter note. Note values greater than eighth notes cannot belong to a beam, and I believe that includes rests.

That would explain why it looks so odd. (I’m sure Dan has a good reason.) I’d be worried it might throw someone sight reading though—at least in the absence of a broader context.

Yes, it was certainly not a common use case… In fact, I was creating that Schenker analysis. More of an exploration of the limits of the software.

I was able to beam these notes together once I removed the rest, which would have been a nonstarter otherwise for this analysis.

And it looks to be a gnarly piece of work! I never had to learn Shenker analysis so I have no idea what I’m looking at.

You might have had an intro to it and not even realized it. The Harmony and Voice Leading book by Aldwell and Schachter that seems to be used in virtually every intro to music theory class, takes a very Shenkerian approach, so plenty of music theory students are already familiar with Shenkerian concepts even if they didn’t learn them by that name. Here’s a paragraph from the preface to my 2nd edition version that I had to use in school:

There was a major blow-up in music theory academia a year ago involving the Journal of Schenkerian Studies. Pretty OT for here, but for anyone interested, here’s a take on it by the NY Times.

Perhaps you’re right; all I know is I have never seen a chart like the one Dan mocked up.

But Steven Taylor achieved beams over rests in his transcription of The Rite of Spring
Why wont the same method work in the simple example given.

In the Rite (part 2, the final Sacrificial Dance), all of the rests which are beamed over are 8th or 16th rests; but the problem is how to beam over a quarter-note rest.

I’m wondering whether this limitation for beaming over rests is intentional or incidental.

It’s intentional. Beaming over rests that themselves don’t take a beam doesn’t make any (musical) sense.


I wonder why quarter note (or other) rests were excluded. I am sure that the desire for doing this is not uncommon. :slight_smile:

edit: I see that Daniel got here before me. So, if the quarter rest were divided into two 1/8th note rests, it would be acceptable? I dont actually see the argument about musicality…

As a sight-reading musician, I would get confused by a beamed crotchet/quarter rest. It just looks weird.

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I suspect that the original players said that about Le Sacre du printemps also!
:slight_smile: David

Yeah, beaming eighth rests would be okay, just as beaming tied eighth notes is acceptable. However, if you convert two beamed tied eighth notes into a quarter note, then any surrounding eighth notes connected by a beam must be broken off.

From Behind Bars: Beats containing rests are grouped in the same way as if the rests were equivalent note-values.

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I’m not necessarily agreeing with this practice, but it’s not particularly uncommon to see quarter rests included in the beaming in some modern music that uses stemlets. The first 3 bars of Eonta by Xenakis (pub. by Boosey) has both a quarter and a dotted quarter rest under the beaming, while the stemlets show eighths.

I think the key here is that the stemlets are indicating the beamed rhythm you’d expect to read if notes were present. Just beaming over those rests without stemlets would make this even more difficult to parse out. In a way this is an elegant compromise between the two ideas discussed above (beaming over quarter rests outright vs. being restricted to only beaming over rest values that would ordinarily take a beam if a note was present).

I personally think such demands (including constantly changing octaves and dynamic levels) are, to use a euphemism, “too much”. I pity the poor pianist who has to learn this. There are enough difficult works in the repertoire without going this far, with consequent diminishing returns. How many pay money to sit in an audience and listen to this style of music?

Other threads (e. g. demonstrate that people are paid to put such extreme pieces into Dorico.

But that said, I have nothing against the notational possibility. I mean, if people want to devote their life to composing, playing or listening to it, that is their choice Most of us have other problems to occupy us! :wink:



I don’t disagree with you, LOL! This isn’t really a style I’m comfortable performing, but from a notation standpoint it seems like something Dorico should be able to handle. Even if it’s a bit unconventional, it’s still pretty standard notation (as opposed to pictographic).

Here are a few books I’ve picked up over the years filled with examples of composers pushing the limits of traditional notation, and of course some leaving it behind entirely.

Even if not clearly laid out in Gould, Ross, Stone, etc., most of these mid-20th century developments are close to 70 years old now so it’s not like these types of notations are new. The Karkoschka book was published 55 years ago! (and is worth picking up just for the images, even if you don’t speak German, as I don’t) Limiting the ability to manually force a beam over a rest seems a bit arbitrary and doesn’t account for some more modern conventions. It would be great if Dorico could be more flexible with manual beaming options here, even if I don’t envision using them much myself.