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Note & Rest Values


A note or rest's rhythmic duration is determined by its shape and/or components (notehead, stem, and tail).

The British name-set originates from old Latin in the early Middle Ages whereas the American name-set is purely arithmetical.

To understand how notes and rests fit into a bar, an understanding of time signatures is necessary.


Notes

A note is the most basic of single sounds in music.

The following is a list of notes in relative order of their time values:

American Name British Name Duration Diagram
Whole Note Semibreve 4 Beats
Half Note Minim 2 Beats
Quarter Note Crotchet 1 Beat
Eighth Note Quaver 1/2 a Beat
Sixteenth Note Semiquaver 1/4 of a Beat

Figure 1: A family tree of notes showing the relation between their time values.


Rests

A rest indicates musical silence (no tonal value).

The following is a list of rests in relative order of their time values:

American Name British Name Duration Diagram
Whole Rest Semibreve Rest 4 Beats
Half Rest Minim Rest 2 Beats
Quarter Rest Crotchet Rest 1 Beat
Eighth Rest Quaver Rest 1/2 a Beat
Sixteenth Rest Semiquaver Rest 1/4 of a Beat

Figure 2: A family tree of rests showing the relation between their time values.


Also see Time Signatures | Beam.


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