Manual beams

In some cases it may be necessary to override the automatic beaming algorithm. For example, the auto-beamer will not put beams over rests or bar lines, and in choral scores the beaming is often set to follow the meter of the lyrics rather than the notes. Such beams can be specified manually by marking the begin and end point with [ and ].

\relative { r4 r8[ g' a r] r g[ | a] r }

[image of music]

Beaming direction can be set manually using direction indicators:

\relative { c''8^[ d e] c,_[ d e f g] }

[image of music]

Individual notes may be marked with \noBeam to prevent them from being beamed:

\relative {
  \time 2/4
  c''8 c\noBeam c c
}

[image of music]

Grace note beams and normal note beams can occur simultaneously. Unbeamed grace notes are not put into normal note beams.

\relative {
  c''4 d8[
  \grace { e32 d c d }
  e8] e[ e
  \grace { f16 }
  e8 e]
}

[image of music]

Even more strict manual control with the beams can be achieved by setting the properties stemLeftBeamCount and stemRightBeamCount. They specify the number of beams to draw on the left and right side, respectively, of the next note. If either property is set, its value will be used only once, and then it is erased. In this example, the last f is printed with only one beam on the left side, i.e., the eighth-note beam of the group as a whole.

\relative a' {
  a8[ r16 f g a]
  a8[ r16
  \set stemLeftBeamCount = 2
  \set stemRightBeamCount = 1
  f16
  \set stemLeftBeamCount = 1
  g16 a]
}

[image of music]

Predefined commands

\noBeam.

Selected Snippets

Flat flags and beam nibs

Flat flags on lone notes and beam nibs at the ends of beamed figures are both possible with a combination of stemLeftBeamCount, stemRightBeamCount, and paired [] beam indicators.

For right-pointing flat flags on lone notes, use paired [] beam indicators and set stemLeftBeamCount to zero (see Example 1).

For left-pointing flat flags, set stemRightBeamCount instead (Example 2).

For right-pointing nibs at the end of a run of beamed notes, set stemRightBeamCount to a positive value. And for left-pointing nibs at the start of a run of beamed notes, set stemLeftBeamCount instead (Example 3).

Sometimes it may make sense for a lone note surrounded by rests to carry both a left- and right-pointing flat flag. Do this with paired [] beam indicators alone (Example 4).

(Note that \set stemLeftBeamCount is always equivalent to \once \set. In other words, the beam count settings are not “sticky”, so the pair of flat flags attached to the lone c'16[] in the last example have nothing to do with the \set two notes prior.)

\score {
  <<
    % Example 1
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      \set stemLeftBeamCount = 0
      c16[]
      r8.
    }
    % Example 2
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      r8.
      \set stemRightBeamCount = 0
      16[]
    }
    % Example 3
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      16 16
      \set stemRightBeamCount = 2
      16 r r
      \set stemLeftBeamCount = 2
      16 16 16
    }
    % Example 4
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      16 16
      \set stemRightBeamCount = 2
      16 r16
      16[]
      r16
      \set stemLeftBeamCount = 2
      16 16
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

See also

Notation Reference: Direction and placement, Grace notes.

Snippets: Rhythms.

Internals Reference: Beam, BeamEvent, Beam_engraver, beam-interface, Stem_engraver.


LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.13 (development-branch).