Suggestion: Toggle Automatic Beaming Starting on Upbeats (in Common Time)

• Jan 29, 2021 - 15:26
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

Currently in Musescore, there is no way to have beams not automatically start on the upbeat. I suggest there be a checkbox setting in the Time Signature settings.

Attached is an example of how Musescore currently beams 8th notes in 4/4 when starting on the upbeat. (Top staff) I would like to see an option to automatically group beams like in the bottom staff.

Personally, I have to manually adjust the beaming for these. I find that changing the beam grouping can help provide a clearer sense of where the beat is. I realize not everybody will find it so, or that some others just don't really care, but it is something I do for almost any score I make.

This suggestion came from a forum post in the General forum.

Attachment Size
automatic 8th note beaming.png 10.79 KB


There have been other requestions to provide a way to get this result, but somehow I don't think anyone has come up with such a conceptually simple approach to it. It always seemed like it would be some complex set of controls needed to provide full generality. I haven't thought it through, but on the surface, I do like this idea of a single checkbox that covers the most common cases.

Right, but this dialog doesn't allow distinguishing these cases. The common rule one might want to follow is, beam a group of four eighth notes, but on ly if it's complete - all four eighths in the group. If the patterns starts - or, and actually this is even more crucial - ends in a rest, you don't want to beam the remaining three. In fact, some would say don't beam the first three eighths if the last is a rest, but it's OK to beam the last three if the first is. And then considering all the other possibilities like sixteenths, or groupings of three or six notes in compound meter, it started to feel like a big job to handle all possible cases.

But a single checkbox that says "Don't beam groups starting on upbeat" could be very useful as a way of catching the most important cases. The trick would be wording it well, defining exactly what "upbeat" means here, etc. Like, I started thing, any group starting with a rest, but that's not right, we still want to be the last two eighths of a group that starts with a quarter rest. And what does this mean in compound meter? So it actually is difficult to really nail down. But reducing the scope of the problem helps.

BTW, from what I recall of the code, we actually process this one note at a time, so we don't necessarily know when we start processing a group whether there are rests further down the line. So handling the case of three eighths followed by a rest is harder. I said it's more crucial, because such groupings are more likely to be mistaken for triplets. But it's also much less common, since in this case, the third eighth would more likely be written as a quarter.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

For 4/4, Can you do it so that 8th note beaming only starts on the downbeat, and then only in groups of even numbers?
If there are consecutive beaming groups, then they those beaming groups could be beamed together after moving on to the next note?

I guess 16th notes would only beam in groups 2-4 starting on the downbeats, and at break beaming when going to the next downbeat?