Shown in the circled parts of the image, are two different ways of representing a beam that spans a sixteenth note - a sixteenth rest - a sixteenth note:

Two ways of representing a 16th rest in between two 16th notes. The first (in 3/16) connects the outer beam and breaks the inner beam.  The second (in 9/16) connects both beams.

In one of them, the beam is broken at the rest, in the other it is not.

  1. What is the functional difference between the two patterns?
  2. When would either one make sense/should be used?

1 Answer 1


There is no real standard to beamed rests. The subdivision on the first could imply a bit of a 16th note beat, while the second one looks more like a 3/16th note beat, but that is just interpretation.

In such situations I would recommomend (and this seems to be common practise) to beam the rest as if it was a note of the same length.

In the first circled case the broken beams makes it visually look as if the rest was an 8th note rest, so the second cases should be prefered.

  • 1
    I think the first case beams like that because the 16th note takes up the beat there (the first case is in 3/16 time), while the other case doesn't (it's in 9/16 time). I think the first case actually does want some conflation of its 16th rests and 8th rests in more normal contexts.
    – Dekkadeci
    Nov 24, 2021 at 13:50
  • Just saying, on first glance this looks like a syncopated figure like 16 8 16.
    – Lazy
    Nov 24, 2021 at 14:42

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