Notehead orientation in cross-staff beaming

I know that some of this has been covered in the forum, but I can’t find any references to this particular problem:

In the following, I want to place the first two notes of the middle part (Ab- G) into the upper staff, via cross-staff beaming:

But when I select the two notes (in Write mode) and hit “n”, I get this:

. . . that is, no cross-staff beaming.

If I then manually lower the beam:

Those first two notes’ noteheads have the wrong orientation.

I know I’m doing something wrong, but I can’t (yet) figure out what that is.

Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Is this what you are trying to achieve?

I entered the four moving notes of the inner part as a second voice in the treble staff and then moved the last two of those notes down to the bass staff using “m”.

Screen Shot 2021-09-06 at 1.47.13 pm

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I’m getting the desired results. In the bass clef I entered the eighth first as stems up and the quarter notes as stem down. I get your result if I enter in reverse order.


Yes, it seems that the results do depend on which voice is stem-up and which is stem-down.

Also, dragging the beam manually is basically changing the length of the stem(s). If you drag it past the notehead(s) the stem(s) will stay on the original side of the notehead(s). This might be a desired effect in some non-traditional notation, but it can be quite off-putting if you’re not used to reading music which looks like that. When I was at university, there was a group of up-and-coming young composition students who practised the fad of writing all their notes with the stems on the wrong side. They could read it quite easily, but most others had trouble as it took quite some getting used to.

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If you want a centered beam, there’s an option for that - Steven is right that dragging beams up and down won’t automatically change the side of the notehead the stem appears on.


Thanks – to all of you! – for your kind help.

I just re-tried the procedure, beginning with the bass clef beamed 8th notes as stems up and the treble notes also as stems up, but still had the same results.

I then noticed that the status bar indicated that the now treble Ab and G 8th notes were still up-stemmed notes, so I used the context menu’s “stem – force stem down”, and that fixed everything.

However, I’m thinking that I must have done something incorrectly, while originally notating this passage, because when I recreated it in a new document – with both the bass 8th notes and original treble notes as up-stemmed – I obtained the correct result by simply selecting the Ab and G and hitting “n”.

Thanks again!