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Music Theory Education


9. Beamed Notes

9. beamed notes

Grade 1. lesson 9 beamed notes


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beamed notes


With notes of less value than a crotchet (quarter note) it is easier to read the beat
value when the notes are joined with a line called a
The beam can join two or more notes together, we will take a look at some
examples written where notes are beamed..


When joining small valued notes like quaver (eighth notes) and semiquaver (sixteenth notes),

the notes are joined at the tip of the stem, with one beamed line for the quaver (eighth notes) and two
 beamed lines for the semiquaver (sixteenth notes). The beam replaces the tail / flag.


two quaver (eighth notes beamed


notes with double beam


Here is another example of 2/4 time signature, using four quaver (eighth notes) in one bar.


quaver (eighth notes) not beamed


quaver (eighth notes) beamed


Looking at these two examples you can see how easier it is to read the beat
count in example 2. With the quaver (eighth notes) beamed together.

crotchet (quarter notes) found in bar 2.

  Joining semiquavers (sixteenth notes) with quaver (eighth notes).


You can also join together the quaver (eighth note) along with two
semiquavers (sixteenth notes)

See the example below, in bar two. Beamed notes.


1/4 and 1/2 value music notes joined together


The notes look much easier to count when written as the second example.

To write the notes like this, first draw three crotchet ( quarter notes) then place the
the first beam across all three notes, now add a second beam across the 2nd and 3rd
notes, this second beam turns the notes into semiquavers (sixteenth notes.)


What if the quaver (eighth note) comes in the middle like this:


quaver (eighth note) in middle


First draw three crotchet (quarter notes) now add one line across all three notes
like this: they now become beamed quaver (eighth notes)




Now place a short line on the inside of the note, slightly below the main line,
then do the same on the third note.
Each short line is drawn toward the middle note, but do take care not to
let your line touch the middle note stem.

When complete should look...

like this:

quaver note (eighth note) in the middle


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Counting small beat values


counting small value music beats

In place of writing the word 'and' we normally use a plus + sign to replace the word,
the count would then be written like this, with the quavers (eighth notes) beamed.


counting with a plus sign +


When counting small value notes, always say the number before the +
you will see some example of this in the bars below, look carefully at the
counting, it is important.

4 bars of 2/4 time with counting

Count 1.......... 2........ +......... 1....... 2.... +....... 1...... +........ 2..... + .........1....... 2

In the second bar the dot belonging to the crotchet (quarter Note) takes the first half

of the second beat, the quaver rest (eighth rest) gets the other half.


counting the beats in 3/4 time

Count.... 1....... 2...... 3.......... 1..... +...... 2....... 3...... 1..... +... 2.... +...... 3....... 1.... 2.... 3 

To help you get a good feel for the different type of beats, it will help if you clap
out these rhythms, counting the beats out aloud.
Notice in the last bar, the minim (half note) gets the first two beats, beat three is
silent because it is a rest.


counting in 4/4 time

Count 1...2.. 3.. +.... 4.... +...... 1..... 2..... +... 3..... +...... 4........ 1.... 2.... 3..... 4....... 1... 2... 3... 4 


We have a very important point to mention in this rhythm, one which
is most important you remember.

In bar 1. the four quavers (eighth notes belong to the last half of the bar,

covering beat 3 and beat 4. it is correct to join all these four notes with a beam.

However, when we look at bar 2. The quaver ( eighth notes) are in the middle of the bar,

therefore, it is NOT correct to beam across the four notes, in this case

the notes may only be joined together in two's.


When can I beam my notes?


correct way to beam in 2/4 time

When grouping notes with beams in 2 over 4 time,

the examples above are correct.


notes grouped in 3/4 time

The above are correct for grouping of notes

with beams in 3 over 4 time signature.


grouping in 4 over 4 time


I'm sure you can see which one of these looks good. Always take care with your
note groupings, most importantly write neatly, use a ruler to keep your lines straight.


8. The Grand Staff and Ledger Lines 10. Stems Going Up or Down



Beamed Notes

Beamed Notes




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