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WHAT ARE BEAMED NOTES?

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Beams connect eighth notes (quavers) and notes of shorter value, and are equivalent in value to flags. In metered music, beams reflect the rhythmic grouping of notes. They may also be used to group short phrases of notes of the same value, regardless of the meter; this is more common in a-metrical passages. In older printings of vocal music, beams are often only used when several notes are to be sung on one syllable of the text – melisma-tic singing; modern notation encourages the use of beaming in a consistent manner with instrumental engraving, and the presence of beams or flags no longer inform the singer. Today, due to the body of music in which traditional metric states are not always assumed, beaming is at the discretion of the composer or arranger and irregular beams are often used to place emphasis on a particular rhythmic pattern.

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