Flat beams

A little more than a year ago, Daniel addressed the requests for a flat beam option, by saying:

I’ve tried this, but it doesn’t work – the only really flat beams are for those that connect identical pitches.
Unless I’m mistaken, Daniel actually addressed this, by saying:

So I don’t’ understand Daniel’s Edit > Select All suggestion, as it doesn’t really result in flat beams – only (perhaps) flatter beams.

If there is, by now, a way to have Dorico flatten all beams, I’d love to know!

Thanks . . .

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I’d like an easier way to do this too. It’s just one keystroke in Finale.


I remember this in Finale as well! Too bad we can’t merge the best of both . . .

BTW, FredGUnn: way back in January, 2021, you posted an intriguing way of producing some aspects of a cutaway score (Cutaway scores - #17 by Romanos). I’m unfortunately at an earlier stage of knowledge with Dorico, so some of your explanation is over my head. You wrote:

I didn’t bother trying to get this exactly, but you can get pretty close in Dorico. Step 1 is hacking your instruments.xml file to create an instrument with a 0-line staff. Add it to any player that will be cut away at some point and treat it like a double. Place hidden notes as needed to force the “instrument” changes wherever you want. Initial barlines are just added as Playing Techniques. Instrument names are Shift-X text. Music Symbols/G clef (small) needs to be set to the same clef as the regular G clef and then sized as enlarging the smaller one makes the optical difference of the smaller design fairly obvious. I used two graphical elements here to hide the names and lines at the beginning of the system, shown in pink, as I couldn’t think of a way around that.

I don’t know anything about .xml files, but is it possible to create a 0-line staff within Dorico’s normal operation? As well, although I’ve never tried it, I’m assuming that Dorico allows us to assign more than one instrument to a staff, and gives us some way of indicating the change of instrument – is that correct?

I occasionally have needed a 0-line staff so I’ve added one as a custom instrument. I actually just posted a walkthrough on how to do it a couple of weeks ago in this thread. You can add it to a player and switch “instruments” to the 0-line staff to sort of mimic a cutaway score, but it’s definitely not perfect. I’m sure it’s well over a year away, but it would be nice to see some more features to assist with this in the next version.

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Wow! Thanks, FredGUnn!

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What kind of style is this beaming used in? Is it done for every beam? Does it mean anything different?

At the moment, I’m creating brief musical illustrations to include in teaching material (re. 18th century counterpoint). In something like this:


. . . I want the student’s attention to be focussed on the matter at hand, and I find that angled beams:


. . . distract.
(It’s a subjective judgement, I know!)

For me, it’s just the occasional outlier that Dorico doesn’t do automatically or just one where I think it looks better. Dorico is very, very good at recognizing these cases and doing it correctly though, far better than Finale where I end up using the flat beam shortcut more often. I just checked and with my settings D4 gets every horizontal beam on Ted Ross pg 115-117 correct. Finale (with Patterson Beams) does not, depending on whether you have “Flatten Beams Based on Extreme Note” or “Standard Note” selected. It’s been a long time since I looked at this, but I think Standard gave better stem lengths in some circumstances so I had that as a default even though it missed some flat beams. I can’t think of an example off the top of my head, so next time I run into one where I’d prefer flat that Dorico doesn’t automatically get I’ll post it.

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You should try it again: I just checked, and you can force any beamed group to have a horizontal beam via the Properties panel. Make sure that only notes are selected, so the Beaming group appears in the Properties panel, and then set Beam direction to Flat.

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Thank-you, Daniel!
I don’t know why I was unable to get it to work before, but it does work now!

I also see that if - by selecting a beamed note so that Beam Direction appears in the Properties panel - one can then expand the number of selected notes (even including some non-beamed notes, in between) and have them all affected by then setting Beam direction to flat. Very helpful.

I selected all the music in a drum staff and deselected tuplets, dynamics, grace notes, playing techinuques and numerous other items but I could never find the offending selection. I can’t select a note and Select More (Shift-cmd-A), either, because that does not work on a 5-line drum staff. So I need to go through the entire part (hundreds of bars), find ands manually select all the notes with slanted beams, and change the Property to Flat. I’m using stemlets, but the rests, even if they\re beamed, may not be in the selection for the Property to be visible. This is all very awkward. Why can’t there be a Notation Option for such a common way of notating as flat beams? And, more importantly, can you add better options in the Filter selection menu, such as ‘Notes only’?

There has to be some context to your project that you’re not sharing.

By default, drum sets use flat beams throughout.

Here’s the Engraving Option that controls it (and this is how it’s set by default):

As for filtering, though it is indeed a multiple step process, filter selecting Notes and Chords, filter deselecting Grace Notes and then filter deselecting tuplets should typically get you just the notes, I think.

Thank you! That setting was invisible as it was hidden under Advanced Options so I never noticed it. And I gathered from this thread that there is no such global setting for flat beams so I take it it has been added in a newer version, or perhaps the thread was about something more specific. However, the default flat beam options for percussion were indeed selected, and even so Dorico slanted some of the beams.

Yes, that’s the usual Filtering procedure but it didn’t work, and I couldn’t figure out what should still have been deselected.