Chopin's beaming is impossible in Musescore?

• Dec 16, 2019 - 03:45

I am arranging Chopin's Nocturne in Eb Op. 9 no. 2 for Flute + String Quartet. It was all going well. That is, until I reached measure 24. Then I reached a spot where the beaming is quite a challenge. In fact, I tried hard and couldn't get the beaming to look right. This is what the beaming looks like in the edition I am using:


Here is Musescore's default beaming for the same measure(okay, so the first 1.75 quarter notes is manually adjusted):

Default Beaming.png

I then try to adjust the beaming to match that of the edition that I am using and this is what I get:

Adjusted Beaming.png

It is so close to the beaming of the edition I am using, but I just can't get that stray 32nd note beam to connect to the group of 32nd notes and look right. Is the beaming of my edition impossible to get in Musescore or am I missing something?


I think you are missing the augmentation dot on the C natural (fourth note) :-). But also, by my count there must be an unmarked tuplet in there on beat "big 3" - the run of 32nd notes. According the alignment with the left hand, it appears the first five 32nd form a quintuplet. Although it's also possible the whole thing was meant to be seen a nine-tuplet (with the triplet nested within)

Anyhow, once you get the rhythm right, the beaming takes care of itself, at most you might need to override sub-beaming in the 32nd-note run. I had no trouble reproducing the above with either of the tuplet interpretations

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As it happens, I am also working on this piece in MuseScore at the moment.

Regarding the run of 32nd notes in measure 24, I chose to deal with the time discrepancy by entering the second through fifth note (A to C) as a quadruplet. Then I just hid the “4” quadruplet symbol to make it look like the original manuscript. This makes more sense to me musically than just marking the first five notes as a quintuplet, since the second note starts a slur. Of course Chopin's actual intention here is anyone's guess.

There are a few other anomalies in this piece. The biggest one that comes to mind is measure 32, which contains the equivalent of 46 (!) eighth notes in it. For this measure I chose not to alter the time signature but instead to go into the measure properties and set the actual duration for this measure to 46/8 (while leaving the nominal duration at 12/8). BTW, Rubinstein plays this measure with two extra repetitions of the pattern of four 16th notes, bringing the duration to 50/8.

In reply to by Spire42

What's really interesting about this piece (and others like it) is that, depending on the edition being used as a guide for your transcription, you'll get different ways of how those notes are beamed, and most of them aren't necessarily "wrong".

As an example, my edition from "Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics" (Chopin: Favorite Piano Works), in measure 24, the notes are beamed as 32nd notes all across the board without any breaks, and the "3" appears under the last 3 notes in the run. That's probably the easiest way to notate it in MuseScore (or, at least, that's the method I'd use), but it can be slightly unruly as far as sight-reading goes. However, it's still manageable, as I've learned the piece with no real hassles, and I first started by sight-reading using this edition.

In reply to by 2142Kitch

In the edition that you have, how many 32nd notes are played during the eighth note on the fifth beat in the bass? That is, how many are there starting with the A♭ with the staccatissimo but ending before whatever note lines up with the bass chord on the sixth beat? In all the editions I've seen, there are five notes: A♭5, A♮4, B♭4, B♮4, and C5. (The next note, a C♯5, lines up with bass chord on the next beat.)

Since you can't fit five 32nd notes inside a single eight-note beat, there has to be an unmarked tuplet among those notes.

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