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Topic: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time (Read 4405 times) previous topic - next topic

Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

I've just applied the latest update to NWC - to V2.51 - and I think it's broken the automatic beaming of quavers in 4/4 time.  Previously, it correctly beamed 4 quavers at the start or end of the bar as one set, whereas it now beams them as two sets of two.  Could we please have the previous behaviour back because it is musically correct?  (If you wish, then provide us an option to do either ...)

Thanks,
Tony


Re: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

Reply #2
You might want to add a temporary time signature before you beam.  The last change I made to the attached was auto beam.
Since 1998

Re: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

Reply #3
But Warren, the automatic beaming is wrong with quavers (eighth notes) in 4/4 - the first bar in your example.  It should group them as two lots of 4, not four lots of 2.  This is one of those cases that breaks the rule of "beam each beat separately" - it's explained a bit more at http://labspace.open.ac.uk/mod/resource/view.php?id=469788, for example.

(The big thing is that it used to work correctly, and now doesn't!)

Tony


Re: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

Reply #5
My apologies.  I realise now that the behaviour hasn't changed.  It's just that I hadn't noticed that it was incorrect before!  I guess this should now become a "new feature request" rather than a "bug report" - apologies for suggesting it was the latter.

T

Re: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

Reply #6
I realise now that the behaviour hasn't changed.  It's just that I hadn't noticed that it was incorrect before!  I guess this should now become a "new feature request"
The default intrepretation of 4/4 is four beats.
The default rule is that beams do not cross beats.
I do not see anything that is "incorrect" here.

If you want NWC to autobeam as though the TimeSig is to be interpreted as 2/2, use the Time Signature Command to add a hidden TimeSig item. This has the advantage of documenting your song as to your intention of how of how the beats are to be interpreted. IOW, the feature you request is already present.

It is worthy of discussion how user friendly hidden TimeSigs are. Currently, to get 3/8 to beam, a TimeSig of 6/8, 9/8 ... 126/8 is needed. This interferes with Audit Bar Lines. Also, figuring out what TimeSig is needed for complex time signatures is "hit or miss".


IMO, NWC would be improved if the TimeSig item included a property for beat info, similar to the Tonic property that was added to the Key Signature Command. Just as nwsw_ShapeNotes.php (see: Easier Shape Note Entry?) uses the Tonic property, other User Tools could benefit from beat info.
Registered user since 1996

Re: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

Reply #7
Rick, thanks for your reply.  Although the "default rule" is that beams do not cross beats, there are a small numbers of cases that are very widely accepted in which this rule does not apply.  One of those is that quavers that form the first minim or last minim (but not the middle one!) of a 4/4 bar are beamed as one set not two.  The link I posted earlier lists those exceptions, and I'm sure they can be found on many other sites on the Internet.

(This was one of the (almost) "trick questions" that regularly came up in the (UK) Associated Board Grade 5 Theory paper, which many of us in the UK will remember with dread!)

Re: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

Reply #8
the (UK) Associated Board Grade 5 Theory paper
Here is what some of the Associated Board members think of beaming: http://www.abrsm.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=52772

I never beam across a beat. I sometimes beam across bar lines. At best, time signatures indicate a default beat that is often modified by beams, articulations and slurs.
Registered user since 1996

 

Re: Automatic beam of quavers (eight notes) in 4/4 time

Reply #9
I concur very strongly with Rick. It's important that performers be able to see clearly the composer's or arranger's intentions with regard to how eighth notes are to be grouped. The beam is the indicator of this grouping. If the beat changes briefly (for one or two measures) from 4/4 to 2/2, then it is acceptable to indicate the change only by beaming; but it it is preferable to actually indicate the time change along with the beaming change.

If this is unclear, consider 6/8 vs 3/4. Same number of 8th notes per measure. If you have a measure containing only eighth notes (or shorter time values), the only difference between 6/8 and 3/4 is whether the measure is beamed as two groups of three eighth notes, or three groups of two. So how do you handle hemiola? By changing the beaming without changing the time signature. Exactly the same principle holds in 4/4 time if you want the measure to be emphasized as if it was in 2/2 instead. When that condition applies, beam in two groups of four; when it does not apply, beam in four groups of two.

Rick mentioned beaming across barlines. When is this done? When the beat has temporarily shifted so that the groupings of beamed notes are off the regular beat of the piece. Again, exactly the same principle: beaming is used to indicate to the performer how the composer wants the eighth notes to be grouped.

Rant over....

Bill