Is there really no way to beam 7/8 at 2+2+3 (or 4+3)

• Nov 26, 2020 - 20:47

Granted, I'm new to the program but every time I export a Finale file with 7/8 time signature it doesn't seem to know how to beam it. It leaves stray unbeamed 8th notes in the middle of the measure. This can't be considered a pro program if it can't handle asymmetrical signatures easily.

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In reply to by jeetee

Thanks for your response, jeetee. I don't think the issue is with the export. I tried importing the same MusicXML file into Noteflight and it beamed everything perfectly. I did get MuseScore to correctly beam the 7/8 measures by manually using the beam start-beam middle function you referred to, however I had to do this on a measure by measure case. It doesn't seem to work globally.

The larger point is MuseScore has a weird, non-intuitive way of handling asymmetrical time signatures. The simple (and standard) method is to simply define the beam groupings. So with 7/8, for example, you should be able to define it as 4+3, 3+4, 2+3+2, etc. This is far easier than the beam-start, beam middle method that I'm seeing here.

In reply to by saltp

MuseScore does allow you to apply different beaming methods though it does it graphically using the beam-start, middle etc. method rather than numerically. This allows for the sub beams as well. You can define several 7/8 time signatures and apply the appropriate one for the score you have. To complete the info, you cannot make measure 1 beam 4+3 then measure 3+2+2 using the time signature properties.

In reply to by kuwitt

A few other details of clarification:

If the beam properties of a particular note are already set to something other than "auto", changing the beaming in the time signature properties will not override that. To have all notes included in the change first select all and apply "auto" beaming from the beam properties pallet.

Changing the beaming properties of a time signature already present in the score changes the properties only for that instance of the time signature. Time signatures in other staves will not be affected, neither will other instances of the same time signature on the same stave.

If you create a time signature with the desired beaming and add it to a pallet, you can select an existing time signature in the score and replace it with your customized version by clicking on the pallet item. This will change the beaming in all staves from that point in the score until another time signature occurs. However, it will not affect the beaming of a similar time signature at any other point in the score. So say you have a 4/4 section followed by a 12/8 and then back to 4/4 (for example), if you apply a customised 4/4 time signature to the first occurrence it will not affect the beaming of the second 4/4 section. You would have to apply your customised time signature again at that point.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Thanks, Steve. I did figure this out (creating a 4+3 grouping and applying it to the appropriate measures.) It worked, and now I understand the MuseScore approach to beam groupings. In retrospect, it makes sense, even if I'm used to the simple math way!

Normally, MuseScore does honor the beaming present in the MusicXML file, however if this info is incomplete, then time signature default may kick in and the combination of the two results may be inconsistent. It could also be there is an issue with how MuseScore recognizes the specific way this particular file is encoded. In any case, we'd need you to attach an actual MusicXML you are having trouble with in order to investigate.

But to be clear, as others have mentioned: MuseScore does allow you to easily customize the default beaming in any time signature. The default in 7/8 is 3+2+2, but you can change that to a different default if you prefer in time signature properties, and you can also override the beam for any individual note(s) via the palette.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Great. Thanks, Marc. I've got it working now. Just uploaded the score here:

I'm attaching the MusicXML file here later. I did find some errors in my original Finale score that may have caused some of the issues, but it MuseScore still opened it with beams removed. You'll also notice that MuseScore does some other weird things on import: it converts Finale's header text into free form text frames, adds page breaks, etc.

Attachment Size
Rolling Boogie Octaves Etude 2.mxl 11.17 KB

In reply to by saltp

Glad you've got things working better!

I did a little test, and it seems "some" of the beaming info gets honored but not allow of it. It seems the places where the MusicXML calls for a new beam to start where the default would be not to, that works, but not the reverse. Something like that. Best approach when importing is usually to do Ctrl+A to select all upon import, then Ctrl+R to reset hard-coded stem directions or they won't respond to further pitch changes), then click "Notes" in the Inspector to limit selection to just the notes, then set the beaming to Auto.

Page breaks are normally inherited from the MusicXML file to be consistent with where they were in the originating program - I don't think there is any clear way for a program to know the difference between where you put a page break versus where Finale did. But you can turn off import of this in Edit / Preferences / Import. You can also simply select them all (right click one, Select / All Similar Elements) and delete them after import.

Header / frame text unfortunately is something MusicXML doesn't have a good strategy for. So we have to kind of guess at what is meant to be what. We made some improvements to this in 3.5, and I think more are yet coming, but the format itself unfortunately is limited and you'll never get perfect results from text note specifically attached to notes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the info, Marc. It's true that MusicXML is limited—I always get different results depending on where I'm exporting from and importing to. Finale, Notion, Noteflight, and now MuseScore (which I'm more and more impressed with the more I use) all yield different results. Oh well...

I will utilize all of the suggestions you mention above for my next export/import. Really helpful. Thanks again!

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