You are here: Reference > Plug-ins > Note, Beam and Rest Editing > Patterson Beams

Patterson Beams Plug-in

How to get there

Choose > Note, Beam, and Rest Editing > Patterson Plug-ins Lite > Patterson Beams.

What it does

The Patterson Beams plug-in edits beams and stems. The beam function adjusts both stem lengths and beam angles based on the staff positions of the notes and the number of notes in the beam. Wedges, white triangular space between the beam and a staff line, are also removed.

The stem function of Patterson Beams affects only stand-alone stems that receive shortened stems. These are stems pointing in the “wrong” direction, normally because they have been frozen, are attached to a chord, or are part of a multi-voice texture. Finale arbitrarily shortens stems to the short-stem length, creating an ugly transition between normal and shortened stems. Furthermore, only unflagged stems are shortened. The stem function of Patterson Beams smooths out the transition between normal and shortened settings and also includes flagged stems. (Stems with more than 2 flags are appropriately lengthened.)

The beam function works in conjunction with the Document Options-Beams (under the Document menu). The plug-in always works from Finale’s default positioning, which is different depending on the beam settings. The modal differences in behavior are most noticeable when the note closest to the beam is not an endpoint. Ultimately, you will probably still have to manually adjust some beams, but the goal of the plug-in is to automatically position the beam for a large majority of cases. If you use the beam functions of the plug-in, we recommend the following settings in Document Options-Beams: Allow Primary Beam within Space checked, Extend Beam over Edge Rests unchecked and Max Slope a multiple of 6. See Document Options-Beams.

Unsupported Options

Certain options are not supported by Patterson Beams. If the plug-in recognizes a stem or beam employing an unsupported option, it skips the beam or stem without making any modifications to it. For beams, these options are unsupported only on the endpoint notes.

The plug-in has only limited support for beam extensions, especially when used to create tremolos. A beam is skipped unless the primary beam is connected to the stem of at least one endpoint. Even then, processing is somewhat limited.

The plug-in always avoids wedges, so it uses a shallower slope when the max would cause a wedge. The plug-in determines the maximum slope amount based on the actual angle entered in the degrees text box between the beginning and ending stem tips. This choice is spacing-sensitive, so the vertical distance will be greater if the notes are widely spaced and less if they are narrowly spaced. If you specify Degrees, then the plug-in determines the maximum slope amount based on the actual angle in degrees between the beginning and ending stem tips. You can also change the amount based on a fixed distance in your current measurement units.

Checking “Only If Slant Should Be Less Than A Space” tells Patterson Beams to use beam slants of whole-space increments for 3-beam groups in the staff that would have a beam slant of at least one space anyway. It is meaningless if “Beams Should Never Cross Spaces” is checked, since with this option, no in-staff 3-beam slant can be more than 1/4 space. You might choose this option if you are using Additional Separation to avoid 3-beam wedges and want to limit the times you get the additional separation this causes where it is absolutely required to avoid a flat beam.

Tip. To ensure beams will sit, straddle or hang on staff lines, a traditional engraving practice is to increase the space between beams if the slant should be less than a space. These settings address this issue.


Tip: You might set the downstem offset to 0 or even +1 if you had text underlay that pushed up close to the staff. In treble clef, this would result in shorter stems on downstem b1's or even c2's.

Enter a value for the minimum stem length for notes with 2 flags. Notes with more than 2 flags add 24 EVPUs (1 space) to this length for each additional flag.



User Manual Home