Patterson Beams Plug-in

How to get there

Choose Plug-ins > 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, the white triangular space between the beam and a staff line, are also removed for full-sized notes. Patterson Beams does not avoid wedges for resized notes and grace notes.

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

The beam function works in conjunction with the Document Options - Beams dialog box. The plug-in's adjustments are based on 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, some beams might need to be manually adjusted, but the goal of the plug-in is to position the beams for a majority of cases automatically.

Tip: If you use the beam functions of the plug-in, we recommend the following settings in Document Options - Beams dialog box: Check Allow Primary Beam Within a Space, uncheck Extend Beam Over Rests, and set the Maximum Slope to a multiple of six.

Unsupported options

The Patterson Beams Plug-in does not support certain options. 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.

  • Cross Staff Notes
  • Notes With Reversed Stems
  • Custom Stems
  • Rest At Beam Endpoints
  • Split Stem Duplicate Beams

The plug-in has 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, the processing is somewhat limited.

  • French Beams: Create • Remove. Check French Beams to only extend interior stems to the first beam, instead of to the eighth beam. Choose Create or Remove to apply or clear French Beams in the selected region.
  • Ignore If Manually Edited: Beams • Stems. Check these options to skip over beams or stems that have been edited by the Special Tools tool icon, either directly or through a plug-in.
  • Beautify Beams. Check this option to enable the beam functions listed below and modify the beams.
  • Beams Should Never Cross Spaces. Check this option to make the slants of all beams narrow enough that they never cross a staff space. This option performs the same function as Allow Primary Beam Within a Space in the Document Options - Beams dialog box.
  • Noteman says: If you find that your selected measurement unit is too large or small to work with, you can override your global choice by including the units or abbreviation when entering values. Or, you can set the default measurement units used in this dialog box by choosing Finale > Measurement Units and selecting the desired units.

  • Max Slope Angle ___ Degrees • Units. Check this option to steepen the beam angle to the specified angle (up or down). If this option is unchecked, the plug-in uses the Maximum Slope setting in the Document Options - Beams dialog box.

    The plug-in uses a shallower slope in situations when the Max Slope would cause a wedge. The maximum slope amount is 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.

  • Preserve Flatness. Check this option to maintain the angle of any flat beams in the selection.
  • Beams On Thirds Can Slant A Full Space. Usually, the slant of a beam must be at least 1/4 space less than the slant of the note interval. Check this option to allow a beamed third to have a slant of a full space (equal to the slant of the note interval).

    Other settings, such as Max Slope Angle and Beams Should Never Cross Spaces, may override this setting.

  • Increase Beam Thickness to Compensate for Beam Angle. Check this option to increase beam thickness, if necessary, for beam angle alterations.
  • 3-Beam Groups In Staff Can Slant Fractional Spaces • Only If Slant Should Be Less Than A Space. Check this box to apply beam slants as small as a 1/4 space for 3-beam groups where appropriate. With a default beam separation of 18 ClosedEVPUEVPUs, or ENIGMA Virtual Page Units, are Finale's flexible units of measurement used to calculate the size and spacing of your music, defined as 288 EVPUs per inch or 24 EVPUs per space. You can display the measurements in more common units such as inches, centimeters, points or spaces., such slight slants lead to wedges, but other options either in Finale or the Patterson Beams plug-in can mitigate the wedges.

    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. It is meaningless if Beams Should Never Cross Spaces is checked because using this option, no in-staff 3-beam slant can be more than 1/4 space. You might choose this option if you are using one of the Additional Beam Separation options to avoid 3-beam wedges and want to limit the times you get the additional separation this causes where it is required to prevent a flat beam.

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

  • Additional Beam Separation For 3-Beam Groups. Check this option to open the 3-Beam Groups dialog box.
  • Additional Beam Separation For 4-Or-More-Beam Groups. Check this option open the 4-Or-More-Beam Groups dialog box.
  • Beautify Stems. Check this option to adjust stem length by 1/4 space increments and create a smooth transition from long to short stems. Unchecking this option causes a sudden shift from normal stem length to short stem length. The stem length values are specified in the Document Options - Stems dialog box.
  • Stem Reversal Offsets (Staff Steps): Upstem ___ • Downstem ___. Use staff step values to define where to begin transitioning to short stems for stand-alone upstem and downstem notes.

    Tip: Set the downstem offset to 0, or even +1, if you have text underlay positioned close to the staff. In treble clef, this would result in shorter stems on downstem b1's or even c2's.

  • Different Short Stem Length for 16ths (and Shorter) • Short Stem Length For 16ths. Check this option to specify a different short stem length for notes with two or more flags. Depending on your music font or the style of flags used, your short stem length for unflagged and single-flag notes may be too short for notes with two or more flags. You can use this option even if Beautify Stems is unchecked. When you do, all flagged stems get short stem lengths, just like unflagged stems, but no transition between short and long occurs.

    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.

  • Use This Value For Flagged 8ths Also • Only If Downstem. Check this box to apply the alternative short stem length to flagged 8ths as well as 16ths and smaller values. You might choose this option if the flag character on your music font does not permit shortening these stems as much as for unflagged notes. Check Only If Downstem to avoid changes to upstem flagged 8ths.
  • Cancel • OK. Click OK (or press RETURN) to confirm, or Cancel to discard, the changes you’ve made and return to the document.

See also:

Beam angles