A beam is a line that connects notes with tails to show rhythmic grouping, which varies according to the metrical structure of the prevailing time signature.

This way of grouping notes helps performers calculate quickly exactly how to play their given rhythm and helps them follow both their part and, if applicable, the conductor.

If appropriate for the current meter and position in the bar, beams are automatically formed in Dorico Pro when you input two or more adjacent notes or chords that are an eighth note (quaver) or shorter in duration.

Figure 1. Multiple beam groups in a 6/8 time signature

Dorico Pro has sophisticated underlying rules for producing beam groupings that follow the accepted conventions of music theory, including crossing the half-bar in time signatures like 4/4, beaming all eighth notes together in 3/4, beam groups that include tuplets, and many other situations.

You can control how notes are beamed in multiple ways in Dorico Pro.

  • You can set beam grouping defaults in each flow in your project independently on the Beam Grouping page in Notation Options.

  • You can set beam groups by controlling subdivisions of time signatures.

  • You can beam notes together and split beams manually.

There are many different accepted standards for how to present beams, so Dorico Pro offers a number of customizing options. You can find these options on the Beams page in Engraving Options.