Suggestion: "Beam Together" and "Split Beam" <-- How to set a single key command for "Beam Together" and "Split Beam"

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Is it possible to assign a key shortcut to “Beam Together” and “Split Beam”?
I could not find it.

If there is no way to do it, the two commands boxed in red colour should be combined.

I would like to know the opinion of other users and the developer team.

Best regards,

It’s possible to assign a keyboard shortcut to “Beam Together” and another keyboard shortcut to “Split Beam”. It’s not possible to assign a keyboard shortcut that toggles between the two, and I don’t think I want to, because “Beam Together” and “Split Beam” don’t always amount to being exact opposites.

Dear prko,
I second Leo : those are really not opposite, and I use those shortcuts very often. I chose cmd-b to beam together and alt-b to make unbeamed, but you can choose anything that you will find convenient!

Maybe prko is hoping that somehow, when you do “beam together”, Dorico remembers how the notes were beamed before you did the command, and “split beam” would undo the change. Or else “split beam” would restore the default beam pattern for the notes.

But neither of those is what “split beam” actually does, and Dorico doesn’t remember the previous state anyway, except when you use the “undo” command.

What I am hoping is that Dorico executes beaming/unbeaming after checking the beam-status of the notes.

It is the way how Finale does.
Please see “To break or create a beam” in the following site:
< >

Sorry for referring to Finale, but I have been used Finale so long.

In general, Dorico is more convenient than Finale, but Finale is simpler regarding this.

(Anyway, beaming across barlines in Dorico is a miracle!)

Dear Rob,
you can always revert to the previous beaming with “Reset beaming” — unless the previous beaming was not the default one, of course!

In Finale, you can only change the beam “status” (either beamed or not) one position at a time. So it makes sense to have one key command to toggle the “status” from one state to the other

In Dorico the commands can work on more than one position along the beams, so it doesn’t make sense.

Suppose you have 8 notes, beamed in groups of 4, 2, and 2. In Dorico you can select all 8 notes, and then “Beam Together” gives you one beam with 8 notes, or “Split beam” gives you 8 separate notes.

If you had one key command in Dorico for both those functions, how would it know which one you wanted to do?

Suppose you have 8 notes, beamed in groups of 4, 2, and 2. In Dorico you can select all 8 notes, and then “Beam Together” gives you one beam with 8 notes, or “Split beam” gives you 8 separate notes.

Your example is as follows:
|||| || ||
By first (and each odd) pressing beaming/unbeaming command, they must be beamd, because there are two places which are not beamed:
By second (and each even) pressing beaming/unbeaming command, they must be unbeamd:
| | | | | | | |

I think it is clear and not confusing.

Ok, but suppose you have |||| || || and you want ||||||||

In Dorico, you select the whole group and tap one shortcut (for Beam Together).

In Finale, unless I’m much mistaken, you’d need to tap / in at least two places.

The Dorico version is more efficient, once you’ve trained yourself how it works (and assigned shortcuts that you remember).

In Finale, unless I’m much mistaken, you’d need to tap / in at least two places.

In this case, Finale users would use “Beam Selection” from Patterson Plug-Ins under the Plug-Ins menu instead of pressing / twice.

Beaming-related, the weakness of Finale is beaming across barlines. Patterson Plug-In provides a solution, but it has its limitation.

I have realised that what I am suggesting is not the same as in Finale.
My suggestion is the combination of all those features by one command.

My suggestion is that you assign keyboard shortcuts to the three Dorico beaming functions and persevere with them until you understand their efficiency.

You’ve perfectly summed up the problem with Finale’s method: in order to beam a bunch of notes together you either have to tap more keys or resort to a plugin (which could be another key command). To beam over a barline you have to resort to a plugin (which could be yet another key command) and presumably you then have to do something else to hide the flag. So that’s three functions and three optional keyboard shortcuts.

I’m pretty sure that if the Dorico team thought they could get away with fewer than three beam commands, they’d have done it in the first place.

Sorry, but I think anybody who hasn’t already used Finale (and grown immune to the convoluted way it does things) would simply ask “WTF???” if you told them that to do something, you first press a key that does the exact opposite, and then press the same key again.

Note: I’ve used Finale for many years - it has its good points, but “simple and intuitive to use” isn’t one of them!

@ pianoleo

I understand what you mean and how efficient it is in Dorico.

To get | | | | | | | | from |||| || |_|, we currently press the command key dedicated to “Split Beam”.

We, however, must press twice the command key according to my suggestion.

If the norm of efficiency is the frequency of pressing the shortcut, you are right.
If the norm is how my fingers react, my suggestion is comfortable at least for me.

@ Rob Tuley
Sorry for my expression. Each software has own advantage, of course.

Dear fellow Doricians,
I understand prko’s concern, and actually he’s asking for the same behavior in beaming that we already have for, say, staccato or accents. If you select a bunch of notes, some of which are accented. You press the accent key once, all the notes get the accent. You press it twice, none of them have accents. The workflow is interesting because you do not have to sort the notes which should receive the order… Photoscore acts exactly the opposite (you must select the accurate notes) and believe me, it’s really cumbersome.
It’s probably a little late to ask for such an implementation, since the one existing works well, but this method would be simple and save some brain memory for shortcuts.

I think even if it wasn’t two years too late, it’s an oversimplification of something that can’t be simplified:

Any note either has an accent or doesn’t have an accent.
Conversely, a note can have a flag (no beam), a beam to the left, a beam to the right, a beam that goes both left and right. Alternatively they can have a beam that goes left or right that doesn’t attach to another note.

The existing implementation gives all of these options - all of this flexibility - from three commands. I don’t know Finale well enough to compare in any more detail, but I don’t find Dorico’s method to be any slower or less intuitive than Sibelius’s, within a few weeks of regular use.

Marc, it’s not a perfect analogy, because any note can have an articulation or not, but long notes can’t have beams.

Select a passage which is a mix of quarter and eighth notes. “Make unbeamed” splits all the 8th notes, as you would expect. “Beam together” does nothing, because you can’t beam the quarter notes, and Dorico (correctly IMO) doesn’t try to “guess” what you wanted to do.

Leo, Finale is a bit like the “Sibelius review” video you posted but on steroids. Some of the beaming commands are the “Utilities” menu, some are in the “Tools / Advanced Tools / Special Tools” subsubmenu, and some are four levels down in the “Plugins” menu - but none of them are anywhere that is obviously called “Beams” :wink:

Well, my friends, the good thing with my little analogy is that we have proven (démonstration par l’absurde in french) that the solution asked by the OP is clearly not a very interesting option, and that we already have a very good set of tools to manage beaming. No doubt that, when LUA scripting will evolve, some people will build their own tools for specific needs. As far as I’m concerned, this is all very satisfactory.

Thanks Marc, and thanks for sharing your excellent beaming shortcuts - those are much better than my choices, and I will change mine to match yours!