Beam Over Barlines

Beam Over Barlines automatically implements workarounds for beams over barlines. Finale does not directly support beams over barlines, so users have commonly implemented them one of two ways:

  1. Extending the beams on the left and right so that they meet at the barline and then lining up the angles. (Extra extremely tedious work is required if only a single note is on either side of the barline.)
  2. Placing the notes on the right side of the barline in the previous bar and manually dragging them into alignment. (This only works if the beam does not cross a system break.)

Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, both for users and for plugins. For example, a plugin cannot practically or reliably line up beam angles, so workaround #1 can only be partially automated. Furthermore, other tools such as Patterson Beams cannot correctly edit a beam that is split in this way.

Workaround #2 has the disadvantage that when the page layout changes (such as for an extracted part), it may no longer be valid if the spacing changed or if the beam now is on a system break. Furthermore, adding articulations, dynamics, or other edits to notes on the right side of the barline is not possible without dragging them back to the left of the barline. Another disadvantage is that if the Scale Manual Positioning of Notes option is checked in Document Options/Notes & Rests, the plugin cannot reliably vertically align the notes.

The plugin achieves the best that it can of both worlds. By default it uses the beam-extension approach only for system breaks, where angle alignment is not critical. For mid-system barlines it uses workaround #2. To mitigate the disadvantages of workaround #2, it provides easy options to remove, reapply, and recalculate the beams. In addition, it has an option to use workaround #1 in all cases, but then the user must manually align each half of each beam as required.

For specific advice on how to use the plugin, see the Recommendations for use below.

Create New Beams Over Barlines (and Recalculate Existing). This option creates (or re-creates) beams over every barline within the selected region that can be beamed over.

Remove Existing Beams Over Barlines Only. This option removes any beams over barlines in the selected region but does not create any new ones.

Recalculate Existing Beams Over Barlines Only. This option finds current beams over barlines and recalculates them based on the rest of the options. It does this by first removing and then recreating the beam. Thus, if a system break occurs in a different place than it did before, the beam is recalculated according to the new system break.

Horizontal Adjustment for Mid-Measure Clefs. When a clef change occurs on the barline, notes in the previous bar do not "see" the clef change even if they appear after the barline. Therefore, workaround #2 requires a clef change on the barline to be converted to a mid-measure clef in the previous bar. Unfortunately, Finale aligns mid-measure clefs differently than barline clef changes. This value compensates for that difference. The default value is -40, which works for Maestro 24 clef symbols.

Create Mid-System Beams Over Multiple Barlines. When this option is enabled, the plugin creates beams over multiple barlines where possible. Thanks to Matthew Hindson for suggesting how this could be accomplished within the existing framework. When this option is checked, the plugin starts with the last two selected bars and iterates backwards through each pair of bars. The cumulative result is beams over multiple barlines. This approach is a not as efficient as the normal way, so do not use it unless you need it.

Treat All Barlines Like System Breaks. This option causes only workaround #1 to be used, even for mid-system barlines. The user will probably have to manually align the beams, however, this is the only option that will provide a single beam over more than one barline.

Force Same Stem Direction Over System Breaks. This option freezes the stems on both sides of a system break in the same direction. Leaving it unchecked means the beams on either side of the system break may go in opposite directions. You can override this option for a specific beam by manually freezing the stem directions in opposite directions before running the plugin.

Beam Extension Offsets { End of System | Beginning of System }. These control how much beam extension the plugin adds. The goal is that when these values are zero, the extensions align exactly with the barline to right or left (in Page View), but your mileage may vary depending on spacing and other considerations.

Adjust Slant Over System Breaks (When Possible). With this option checked, the plugin provides a fixed amount of slant when the notes are different on either side of the barline. This is especially useful with singleton beams, where otherwise a rather laborious manual process is required to get any slant.

Slope For Regular Beams. This specifies the fixed EVPU slope amount that applied to regular beams (i.e., beams with more than one note).

Slope For Singleton Beams. This specifies the fixed EVPU slope amount that is applied to a singleton beam. The slope angle is determined by this amount along with the H Offset amount.

H Offset. Finale does not directly support a beam on a single note. In this situation the plugin beams the visible note to a hidden second note. This value tells it how far to offset that note horizontally.

All Parts. Process all parts (but not the score) in a single pass.

All Open Documents. Process all open documents in a single pass.

Close On Go. Checking this mimics the behavior of a modal dialog box. It causes the plugin window to close after you click Go.

Save Settings... brings up the Save Settings dialog.

About... brings up an information dialog that includes a button that allows you to see again any dialogs you have dismissed with the "Don't Show Again" option checked.

Recommendations for using Beam Over Barlines

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the operation of Beam Over Barlines, please feel free to contact me.