Flat beam question

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Fred G. Unn
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Flat beam question

Post by Fred G. Unn »

There was a recent thread on the Dorico forum about flat beams so I guess they were on my mind when I stumbled upon this example today while writing some patterns for a student.

Image

Seems pretty straightforward, but the fact that the line ascends at the end winds up giving it a concave "feel," at least to me anyway. Would anyone be inclined use a flat beam here? Or am I overthinking it?

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tisimst
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Re: Flat beam question

Post by tisimst »

I wouldn’t use a flat beam. I’ve always been in the camp that the beam should trend (i.e., slant) with the trend of the notes. The level of slant is debatable, but I would do *something* since it gives the eyes a cue of what the notes are *generally* doing so I can anticipate it. This is very important to me when I’m sight-reading. I’m no pro, but that’s my thought on the matter. So, if I had to pick one of the images, I would very much prefer the first to the second.
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Fred G. Unn
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Re: Flat beam question

Post by Fred G. Unn »

Thanks! If the last two notes of the first bar were reversed, A natural to Ab, it wouldn't have even occurred to me to change it, and if I spelled the Ab as G# then of course it would be flat as the shape is concave.
Image

This one just sort of slipped between the cracks as my engraver-brain thinks of it one way, and performer-brain thinks of another, LOL! The ascending notes at the end of a descending (overall) line were making me question it.

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tisimst
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Re: Flat beam question

Post by tisimst »

Convex vs concave doesn't matter much to me. The group is *trending* downward, so I'd slant the beam downward, at least a little. Doesn't really matter what happens in the middle. Here's what my brain sees:
beam-group-showing-trend.png
beam-group-showing-trend.png (42.28 KiB) Viewed 216 times
This doesn't mean that I'd slope it that much, but *something*.
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Fred G. Unn
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Re: Flat beam question

Post by Fred G. Unn »

Both Ross (pg 115-117) and Gould (pg 22-24) are prescribing a flat beam if the the Ab is a G#, and that still makes sense to me, but it's the enharmonic factor that throws me off. I think I'm fine with the top example I posted, but with a G# I'd definitely prefer a horizontal beam here.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Flat beam question

Post by John Ruggero »

I'm with tisimst on this one. I want the beam to follow the general import of the music and ignore the decorative motion.
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tisimst
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Re: Flat beam question

Post by tisimst »

If notation apps could do curved beams, I'd probably have a different opinion on the matter lol
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John Ruggero
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Re: Flat beam question

Post by John Ruggero »

Yeh, JS Bach would have used curved beams in this case, but that's too much granularity for me.
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