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Encyclopedia > Half note

This page is about the musical note. For the jazz club, see Half Note Club The Half Note was a legendary jazz club located at the intersection of Hudson & Spring in Manhattan. ...


In music, a half note (American) or minim is a two-beat long note played for half the duration of a whole note and twice the duration of a quarter note (or crotchet). Music is a form of expression in the medium of time using the structures of tones and silence. ... Figure 1. ... In music, a quarter note is played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note. ... In music, a quarter note (American) or crotchet is a note played for one-quarter the duration of a whole note, hence the name. ...

Figure 1. A half note with stem facing up, a half note with stem facing down, and a half rest.
Figure 1. A half note with stem facing up, a half note with stem facing down, and a half rest.

Half notes are notated with a hollow oval note head (like a whole note) and a straight note stem with no flags (like a quarter note; see Figure 1). The half rest (or minim rest) denotes a silence for the same duration. Half rests are drawn as filled-in rectangles sitting on top of the middle line of the musical staff. As with all notes with stems, half notes are drawn with stems to the right of the notehead, facing up, when they are below the middle line of the staff. When they are on or above the middle line, they are drawn with stems on the left of the note head, facing down. Image File history File links Half_notes_and_rest. ... Image File history File links Half_notes_and_rest. ... Stems can refer to two things in music, relating to music notation and production. ... The tricolour flag of France A flag is a piece of coloured cloth flown from a pole or mast, usually for purposes of signalling or identification. ... In music, a quarter note is played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note. ... In musical notation, the staff or stave is a set of five horizontal lines on which note symbols are placed to indicate pitch and time. ... In musical notation, the staff or stave is a set of five horizontal lines on which note symbols are placed to indicate pitch and time. ...


The note derives from the minima in mensural notation, which is Latin for 'least or smallest,' because at one stage it was the shortest of all note values used. The word minim comes from this name. The American term half note is a 19th-century loan translation of German Halbe Note. Menstrual notation is the musical notation system which was used from the later part of the 13th century until about 1600. ... Calque In linguistics, a calque ([kælk]) or loan translation (itself a calque of German Lehnübersetzung) consists of the borrowing of a phrase from one language into another, in the process of which individual words native to the borrowing language semantically match the individual words in the source language. ...


The names of this note (and rest) in European languages vary greatly:

Language note name rest name
German Halbe Note Halbe Pause
French blanche demi-pause
Italian bianca pausa di bianca
Spanish blanca silencio de blanca
Portuguese mínima pausa de mínima

The French, Italian and Spanish names for the note (all meaning "white") derive from the fact that the minima was the shortest unfilled note in mensural white notation, which is true as well of the modern form. The form in the earlier black notation resembles the modern quarter note. In music, a quarter note is played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note. ...


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