14: A mysterious pair of notes - half notes beamed together?
Question: A flute student has an audition piece that has an unusual marking...there is a measure that has two half notes connected with a beam as if they were 8th notes. Additionally, just above the beam is another beam, but not touching the note stems. So although it may appear at first to be 16th notes connected by a beam, they clearly are not. Any help??

Answer: What you're describing sounds like what on the violin would be called a fingered tremolo; shorthand for a tremolo on those two pitches, lasting for the time of two half notes. Below I've illustrated that as if it's a measured tremolo in 32nds, but the fact that the second beam doesn't contact the stems suggests it's meant to be an unmeasured flutter. If you're lucky the composer will have chosen two notes that can be played by changing just one finger.

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