I did a picture with 2 examples so you guys can see what I mean. Please can you tell me if blue or red is better?

A rhythm in 3/8 with different beaming. The first (red) example has a rest under a partially broken beam. The second (blue) breaks the beam completely at the rest.

  • 3
    Why not use 3/4 time, double the bpm, and not have to use such 'short' notes? Or use staccato marks instead?
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 10:06
  • 3
    Short reply to @Tim , which I recall reading from another answer recently, which was a good reminder to me: rest is rhythm, staccato is articulation; best not conflate the two.
    – Neal
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 11:23
  • 1
    It might look better with the 3 lines going all the way across. I don't like the blue option at all; I think the red option is clearer to read.
    – Peter
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 11:56
  • 1
    Even better: combine the two 32nd note rests in the first beat into one 16th rest.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 12:44
  • 1
    What instrument is this for?
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 13:10

3 Answers 3


The beam keeps the 4 notes/or rest together = 1 beat. This assembling makes it immediately plausible for reading. Thus the red version is much better and more usual.

  • 2
    With the note that engraving rules will probably add a little more height to the beam or move the rests lower, so that the rests fit comfortably below where the beams "would have been," allowing the eye to connect them. Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 14:39

Just to provide a visual example of what you're seeing in comments and Albrecht's answer:

enter image description here

Having the three beams encompass the entire beat (and thus beaming over the rest itself) makes especially clear to the reader that this is all a single metrical unit. Otherwise, the reader may, however temporarily, question whether the lone thirty-second note at the end is a part of a new beat.


If it's percussion, you might prefer




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