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note beam

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Sixteenth-notes have a double note beam.

Beamed eighth and sixteenth notes.

Image © Brandy Kraemer
Definition: A note beam is a thick horizontal line connecting two or more notes, used for both rhythmic organization and to ease the reading of smaller note-lengths. Note beams can be seen on all note-values smaller than a quarter-note.

The number of beams on a grouping is equal to that note-value’s number of flags:
  • Eighth-note (or quaver) groupings have one beam

  • Sixteenth-notes (semiquavers) have two beams

  • Thirty-second notes (demisemiquavers) have three beams

  • Sixty-fourth notes (hemidemisemiquaver) have four beams

Depending on the time signature, notes may be beamed together into groups of twos, threes, or fours; however in some meters, some may not be beamed at all (more rules of note-beaming at Ars-Nova.com).


See tuplet.

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