10. Stems Going Up or Down
Grade 1. lesson 10 stems going up or down
When we talk about Stems going Up or Down, we are thinking how clear and neatly the notes will look
on the staff. In this lesson you will see there are a number of diagrams showing the correct direction
of the stem, stems up or stems down.
You will also see a section for stems going up or down, when we discuss notes which are
beamed,there are some examples of what to look for when deciding which way to beam the notes.
Stems going Up or Down
Most of the time it is the middle line (line 3) of the Staff (Stave)
which decides which way the stems go,
Up or Down.
When you look at the example below, you can see by keeping the stems within
the staff (stave) it makes the music notes look neat.
Looking at the two examples below, which one do you think looks the best?
We think all would agree, it must be example 2.
The first example looks untidy, with its note stems sticking up
far above the staff (stave.)
The main rule of thumb here, is only place a note above line three with
stem up, if it would not look correct to make the change with just one note,
with Stems going Up or Down make sure yours go the correct way.
If we look at a few more examples, see which looks good, and which
The second example must win here, look at bar 2. the C in the third space
looks much better with its stem down, because we have notes in the
following bar going higher.
Looking at these two examples above, we can see the first note looks much better
in example 1.
example 2. even though the other notes in bar 1 have stems down, the first note
does not look correct.
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Beaming Two Notes, Stems Up or Down
If we have two notes which are far apart on the staff (stave), how do we
decide which way to place the stem.
Look at your two notes, decide which note is the closer to the middle line,
also is the second note moving up or down in pitch.
Let's take a look at this example...
Important point here, notice the length of the stems,
when one note is much higher, or lower than the other, the length of the stems
need to be adjusted.