32nd Note Stem Length

32nd Note Stem Length Hmmm

Is there a difference between a Beamed 8th Note Stem Length, a Beamed 16th Note Stem Length and a Beamed 32nd Note Stem Length?  Yes there is.

A Beamed Note Stem Length is different based upon which type of Beamed Note you are writing.

A Single Beam is used to beam Eighth Notes.  A Double Beam (two beams) are used to beam Sixteenth Notes.  A Triple Beam (three beams) are used to beam Thirty-Second Notes.

The basic "Stem Length Rule" states that a stem length is usually approximately one octave in length.  However, a Beamed 32nd Note Stem Length must be longer.  

Let's explore some Theory Situations that would involve having a Beamed Note Stem Length longer than an octave.

Beamed 32nd Note Stem Length - Hmmmm.....

Okay, let's think about this.  If ALL Note Stem Lengths were always and only one octave in length, how would that look?

In the example here, I have adjusted the Stem Lengths for my Beamed Notes to only be one octave in length.  What do you think?  Do they look like they are correct?

If All Stems were One Octave

32nd Note Stem Length - Why Should It Be Longer?

In the example box, I have given 2 examples of 4 32nd notes that are beamed together.

The first set uses the "one octave in length" rule for the 32nd Note Stem Length.  I really find that the notes look "squishy".  (I'm not sure if that is a real "theory" word...but it work.  They DO look squishy and are harder to read!)

The second set uses stems that are longer and it is SO much easier to read.


UMT Beamed 32nd Note Stem Length Incorrect and Correct

32nd Note Stem Length - What We See in Music versus How We Write It By Hand

Theory is all about putting pencil to paper and writing music.  Students need to know how to do this properly.  Online Theory Courses that do not involve a student using a pencil and writing their work are, in my opinion, a waste of money.  Learning Theory involves a Student learning HOW to write music, and is marked by an actual Teacher.

To write a proper 32nd Note Stem Length, students do not need to do all that "thick line" writing.  Simply follow these steps:

Step #1:  Extend the stem so that the Stem Length is approximately an interval of a 9th or 10th (one "space" longer than the octave).

Step #2:  Do NOT write the first beam in the first space above (or below) the notehead.  Always leave that first space "empty" (no beam in it).

Step #3:  Add the 3 Beams one at a time, each in their own space!

UMT Beamed 32 Note Stem Length How To Write By Hand

32nd Note Stem Length With Different Notes

It really is quite easy to write proper beamed notes.

Step #1:  Look at the note that is the furthest away from the middle line.  Add a stem to that note.  All the stems will be in that direction.

Step #2:  Add a stem to the note closest to the middle line.  This will give you the "Beam Angle" (either angling upwards or angling downwards).

It is important that these stems are at least 1 space longer than 1 octave in length!

Step #3:  Now, add stems to the remaining noteheads.  Join all stems with the first beam (furthest away from the noteheads) at the correct beam angle.

Step #4:  Add the remaining beams.  The stems should be long enough so that each beam will start and end in a space.  There will also be one "empty" space either below or above the notehead closest to the middle line.

Remember to use your UMT Ruler to draw straight beams and stems!  This ruler is clear (see-through) so it makes it super easy to see that the beams and stems are correct!  And, it clips inside the Ultimate Music Theory Workbooks for safe keeping.

UMT Beamed 32 Note Stem Length with Different Notes

If you are not sure about Beam Angles or joining notes with beams, please check out these blogs:

Add Beams to Join 2 Notes reviews the rules for writing the stems correctly and adding the beam at the correct angle.

The Blog Adding beams to Join 3 Notes takes the confusion out of adding stems and beams when there are more than 2 notes.

With all this information, Students will have no problem learning (and remembering) how to write notes with beams properly.

Remember to practice on your UMT Whiteboard.  This is a "must have" for theory students and for every Teaching Studio!  I don't think a teaching hour goes by where I don't pull out my Whiteboards on more than 1 occasion!

And, CONGRATULATIONS for being a Teacher who is interested in learning how to support your Students in writing their notes properly.  "Close Enough" should not be "Good Enough".  We can and should teach our Students to write their notes correctly (using Pencil and Paper, or Whiteboard Marker and Whiteboard).

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Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren


1 thoughts on “32nd Note Stem Length”

  • Rita says:

    This is super helpful! Just a few easy guidelines to keep in mind that make all these beams look good! Thanks again!

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