Notes covers several different components, including a notehead, stem, beam, andflag.Common note values encompass thewhole note,half note,quarter note,eighth note, and also the 16 note.Common remainder values include thewhole rest,half rest,quarter rest,eighth rest and thesixteenth rest.British terms for note and also rest values are various from American terms.Adot increases the term of a keep in mind by half. Subsequent dots add fifty percent the duration of the previous dot.Atie connects two or more notes the the same pitch. Perform not rearticulate any type of “tied to” notes.

You are watching: The value of the answer note serves as the basis for the relative value of all the other notes.


Music is a temporal art; in other words, time is just one of its components. The being the case, organizing time is essential for Western music notation. Two temporal facets will be concentrated on in the following several chapters; rhythm and meter. This chapter focuses on the an easy rhythmic and rest worths in Western musical notation.

Rhythmic Values

Broadly speaking, rhythm describes the duration of music sounds and rests in time. As you’ll recall in the chapter titled Notation that Notes, Clefs, and Ledger Lines, notes might contain several various components, as watched in instance 1:

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Example 1. Noteheads with stems, beams and flags labeled.

There are many typical rhythmic worths in Western musical notation. Rhythmic values are hierarchical; in various other words, your lengths are loved one to one another. Every rhythmic value have the right to be split into two succeeding rhythmic values, as checked out in example 2:

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Example 2. The loved one relationships between common rhythmic values.

It is simple to think about these relationships prefer a pizza. A whole pizza divides right into two halves, four quarters, eight eighths, etc. Likewise, a totality note divides into two halves, four quarters, eight eighths and so on.

Several extr aspects of example 2 should be noted:

Noteheads have the right to be to fill in (black) or unfilled (white); quarter notes and much shorter durations room filled in.Unfilled noteheads might or might not have actually a stem, but filled noteheads always have stems.Flags space only included to the tribe of fill noteheads.

Additionally, there are three methods to diminish a note’s value duration through half:

Adding a stem come a note (i.e. Entirety to half) decreases a note’s duration by half.Filling in a notehead (i.e. Fifty percent to quarter) reduce a note’s duration by half.Adding a flag (i.e. Quarter to eighth or eighth come sixteenth) decreases a note’s term by half.

Please keep in mind that Open Music Theory privileges the phibìc American names for rhythmic values. Below, every rhythmic worth will it is in discussed, and also will be established with the British name in parentheses; see example 2 for a intuitive of each note value:

Whole keep in mind (semibreve in brothers English): this thick, unfilled oval shape has no stem. In numerous compositions today, this is the longest note value used.Half note (minim in brother English): additionally an oval, drawn with a slightly thinner line, and also has a stem. This notes is fifty percent as lengthy as the entirety note (i.e. Two fifty percent notes comprise one totality note).Quarter note (crotchet in british English): looks favor the half note, except that the keep in mind head has been filled in. This keep in mind is half as long as a half note (i.e. 2 quarter notes consist of one fifty percent note), and is a quarter as lengthy as a totality note (i.e. Four quarter notes comprise one entirety note).Eighth keep in mind (quaver in brother English): looks favor the quarter note, except that a flag has been included to its stem. This note is half as long as a quarter note (i.e. 2 eighth notes comprise one quarter note), and it is an eighth as lengthy as a entirety note (i.e. Eight eighth notes comprise one totality note).Sixteenth keep in mind (semiquaver in british English): looks choose an eighth note, except that it has an extra flag. This keep in mind is fifty percent as long as one eighth note (i.e. Two sixteenth notes make up one eighth note), and it is one sixteenth as long as a entirety note (i.e. 16 sixteenth notes comprise one entirety note).

Note values shorter than the sixteenth keep in mind (thirty-second note, sixty-fourth note, etc.) are developed by adding extra flags. You may run right into one additional, less usual rhythmic value, called the twin whole keep in mind (breve in brothers English). Instance 3 mirrors one dual whole keep in mind in a percussion clef, a clef offered by non-pitched percussion instruments:

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Example 3. A twin whole keep in mind on a line.

Double entirety notes are occasionally notated with only one heat on either side of the notehead. In older music notation styles (e.g. Mensural notation), the notehead appears an ext square than oval. Double whole notes division into whole notes (i.e. Two totality notes consist of one dual whole note).

Rest Values

Broadly speaking, rests refer to the expression of silences in music. Each hierarchical rhythmic value has a equivalent rest value, as viewed in instance 4:

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Example 4. The relative relationships in between common remainder values.

Like rhythmic keep in mind values, each rest value deserve to be split into two subsequent remainder values, as viewed in example 4.

Several additional aspects of example 4 need to be noted:

Notice the a totality rest hangs down from a heat while a fifty percent rest sits on height of a line. It may be useful to think the a entirety rest together “heavier” than a half rest, i beg your pardon is why the hangs down; likewise, a fifty percent rest resembles a optimal hat, which is why it sits on height of a line, together if sit on the height of a who head.Practice illustration quarter rests carefully; they are challenging to attract for plenty of students.Adding a flag to a remainder (i.e. Eighth come sixteenth) to reduce a rest’s expression by half.

Although rare, you might run across a breve rest, as watched in example 5:

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Example 5. A breve rest.

A breve rest is equivalent in size to two entirety rests. That looks prefer a filled-in box, and appears ~ above the second-from-top space.

Dots and also ties

Dots and ties enable rhythmic and also rest durations to it is in lengthened. A period is written automatically after a keep in mind or rest, and it boosts its expression by half. Because that example, a quarter note is tantamount in duration to two eighth notes; therefore, a dotted quarter keep in mind would be indistinguishable to three eighth notes. A second example: a totality note is equivalent to two fifty percent notes; therefore, a dotted totality note would be identical to three fifty percent notes. Multiple dots deserve to be included to a duration. Subsequent dots add fifty percent the duration of the note that was included with the previous dot. Because that example, a twin dotted quarter note (i.e. A quarter keep in mind with two dots) is indistinguishable in duration to a quarter, eighth, and also sixteenth note. In various other words, a doubly dotted keep in mind is 1 and also 3/4 the durational worth of the original note. Instance 6 reflects the rhythmic value break down of 2 dotted notes and one doubly dotted note:

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Example 6. The rhythmic malfunction of two dotted notes and also one double dotted note.

A tie is a bent line the connects 2 or more pitches that space the same. Tied-to notes room not rearticulated. In various other words, ties are offered to boost a rhythmic or rest value. Instance 7 consists of a tie:

Example 7. A tie associate the an initial two notes.

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In instance 7 there is a tie connecting the an initial two rhythmic values. This tie indicates that the fifty percent and 4 minutes 1 notes room to be play or sung v no rearticulation of the quarter note. In other words, one should organize the first note for the expression of three quarter notes rather of two. Another way to create this rhythmic value is as a dotted fifty percent note. You can think that a tie looks like a slur (see Other aspects of Notation). You would certainly be exactly in reasoning they look at alike. The difference in between a tie and also slur choose in what pitches they connect, as well as their functions. Slurs attach notes of different pitches and also serve as a reminder come play or sing the suggested notes legato, if ties connect notes of the exact same pitch and serve to boost the rhythmic worth of a note.