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The beam/unbeam tool

The beam button allows you to specifically beam certain notes, and it gives you enough control to permit making various special beam patterns. The upper part of the button is used to beam selected notes, and the lower part of the button unbeams selected notes.

There may be more than one way to correctly beam a passage, and the choice is often dictated by personal taste or a desire to imply a certain musical effect. For instance, eight sixteenth notes in 4/4 time could be beamed in three ways, as two separate groups of 4, as two groups of four with a bridging single beam, and as one group of eight. Counterpointer can do whichever you like if you use the beam button. Just beam first the smallest groups within the larger one, and work upwards.

For example, the first way of notating eight sixteenths is to select each group of four and use the beam button on each group:

These two groups can themselves be beamed together by selecting them both and using the beam button again:

Finally, to beam eight sixteenths without any subgroups simply select all eight in the first place and use the beam button once:

This technique also gives you control over the direction of short beams within larger groups. For example, the same rhythm could be beamed into two different patterns, as follows:

Sixteenth values grouped in pattern 2, 4, 2:

The same notes grouped in pattern 3, 2, 3:

Vocal beaming

Beams that are designed to emphasize the beat structure of the music are typically used in instrumental music, though many people prefer this style for vocal music as well. Traditionally, however, vocal music has been written with beams having an entirely different meaning: in the vocal style notes sung on the different syllables never are beamed together and only notes sung to the same syllable are beamed!

Adjusting beam angles and heights

Beam angles and beam heights can be adjusted by dragging note stems up and down with the arrow tool. Dragging a stem at either end will change the angle; dragging a stem of one of the interior notes will raise or lower the beam without changing the angle.

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