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Encyclopedia > Note value
Parts of a note
Parts of a note

In music notation, a note value indicates the relative duration of a note, using the color or shape of the note head, the presence or absence of a stem, and the presence or absence of flags. Image File history File links Parts_of_a_note. ... Image File history File links Parts_of_a_note. ... Music notation is a system of writing for music. ... A duration is an amount of time or a particular time interval. ... The oval that is seen at the top or bottom of a note. ... Stems can refer to two things in music, relating to music notation and production. ...


A rest indicates a silence of an equivalent duration. A rest is an interval of silence in a piece of music, marked by a sign indicating the length of the pause. ...

Contents

Names and symbols

A note value does not stand for any absolute duration, but can only be understood in relation to other note values. In the table below, each symbol is exactly twice as long in duration as the symbol below it. similar to

Note Rest American name... British name...
Image:longa_rest.gif longa longa
breve (or double whole note) breve
Image:whole_rest.gif whole note semibreve
Image:half_rest.gif half note minim
Image:quarter_rest.gif quarter note crotchet
Image:eighth_rest.gif eighth note quaver
Image:sixteenth_rest.gif sixteenth note semiquaver
Image:32nd_rest.gif thirty-second note demisemiquaver
Image:64th_rest.gif sixty-fourth note hemidemisemiquaver
hundred twenty-eighth note Quasihemidemisemiquaver/Semihemidemisemiquaver

Image File history File links 4-1_note_longa_(music). ... Image File history File links Longa (note value) rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A longa with stem facing down. ... Image File history File links 2-1_note_breve_(music). ... Image File history File links breve rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Various breve notations A double whole note or breve is a note in music, lasting twice as long as a whole note (or semibreve). ... Image File history File links 1-1_note_semibreve. ... Image File history File links Whole rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Figure 1. ... Image File history File links 1-2_note_minim_(music). ... Image File history File links Half rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In music, a half note (American) or minim is a note played for one half the duration of a whole note, hence the name. ... Image File history File links 1-4_note_crotchet_(music). ... Image File history File links Quarter rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In music, a quarter note (American) or crotchet (Commonwealth) is played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note. ... Image File history File links 1-8_note_quaver_(music). ... Image File history File links Eighth rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Figure 1. ... Image File history File links 1-16_note_semiquaver_(music). ... Image File history File links Sixteenth rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Figure 1. ... Image File history File links 1-32_note_demisemiquaver_(music). ... Image File history File links 32nd rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In music, a thirty-second note (American or German terminology) or demisemiquaver (British or classical terminology) is a note played for 1/32 of the duration of a whole note (or semibreve). ... Image File history File links 1-64_note_hemidemisemiquaver_(music). ... Image File history File links 64th rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In music notation, a sixty-fourth note (American) or a hemidemisemiquaver (British/Canadian) is a note played for 1/64 of the duration of a whole note. ... Image File history File links 1-128_note_quarter_demisemiquaver_(music). ... Image File history File links 128th rest File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In music, a 128th note in American English, or a semihemidemisemiquaver or quasihemidemisemiquaver in British English, is a note that is half as long as a sixty-fourth note. ...

Variations

Variants of the breve

The breve appears in several different versions, as shown at right. Image File history File links Three different forms of the breve or double whole note. ...


Sometimes the longa is used to indicate a very long note of indefinite duration, as at the end of a piece.


When a stem is present, it can go either (from the right side of the note head) or down (from the left side, except in the case of the longa). In most cases, the stem goes down if the notehead is on the center line or above, and up otherwise. Any flags always go to the right of the stem.

Beamed notes
Beamed notes

When two or more notes which would normally have flags (eighth notes or shorter) appear successively, the flags may be replaced by beams, as shown at right. Notes are typically beamed only if they appear in the same beat within the bar. Beams also imply that the notes should be slightly more connected than non-beamed notes. Image File history File links Sample beamed notes File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Figure 1. ... A beam in musical notation is constructed as one or more lines used to connect multiple consecutive eighth notes (quavers), sixteenth notes (semiquavers), or smaller note values. ... In musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration. ...


Modifiers

A note value may be augmented by adding a dot after it. This dot adds the next lower note value, making it 1.5 times its original duration. Two dots add two lower note values, making a total of 1.75 times its original duration. The rare three dots make 1.875 the duration, and so on. In music and music theory augmentation is the lengthening or widening of rhythms, melodies, intervals, chords. ... Example 1. ... Example 1. ... Example 1. ...


To divide a note value into three equal parts, or some other value than two, tuplets may be used. However, see swung note and notes inégales. In music a tuplet is a note value whose relationship with the next larger note value is more or less than (not equal to) half as long as the next higher note value, usually indicated with a horizontal (or nearly horizontal) bracket with a number. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... In music, notes inégales (French: unequal notes) refers to a performance practice, mainly from the Baroque and Classical music eras, in which notes with equal written time values are performed with unequal durations, usually as alternating long and short. ...


History

Gregorian chant

Although note heads of various shapes, and notes with and without stems appear in early Gregorian chant manuscripts, most scholars agree that these symbols do not indicate different durations, although the dot is used for augmentation. See neume. Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the Roman Catholic Church. ... The factual accuracy of this article is disputed. ...


In the 13th century, chant was sometimes performed according to rhythmic modes, roughly equivalent to meters; however, the note shapes still did not indicate duration in the same way as modern note values. (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... In medieval music, the rhythmic modes were patterns of long and short durations (or rhythms) imposed on written notes which otherwise appeared to be identical. ... Metre or meter (US) is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed beats, indicated in Western music notation by a symbol called a time signature. ...


Mensural notation

Around 1250, Franco of Cologne invented different symbols for different durations, although the relation between different note values could vary; three was the most common ratio. Philippe de Vitry's treatise Ars nova (1320) described a system in which the ratios of different note values could be 2:1 or 3:1, with a system of mensural time signatures to distinguish between them. // April 30 - King Louis IX of France released by his Egyptian captors after paying a ransom of one million dinars and turning over the city of Damietta. ... Franco of Cologne (fl. ... Philippe de Vitry (October 31, 1291 – June 9, 1361) was a French composer, music theorist and poet. ... The time signature (also known as meter signature) is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each bar and what note value constitutes one beat. ...


This black mensural notation gave way to white mensural notation around 1450, in which all note values were written with white (outline) noteheads. In white notation the use of triplets was indicated by coloration, i.e. filling in the noteheads to make them black (or sometimes red). Both black and white notation periodically made use of ligatures, a holdover from the clivis and porrectus neumes used in chant. Menstrual notation is the musical notation system which was used from the later part of the 13th century until about 1600. ... In music a tuplet is a note value whose relationship with the next larger note value is more or less than (not equal to) half as long as the next higher note value, usually indicated with a horizontal (or nearly horizontal) bracket with a number. ... In music notation, a ligature is a symbol that connects multiple notes in some way. ... Neumes are an ancient musical notation used to write down Gregorian chant, a monophonic singing style used by the Catholic church throughout its history. ... Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the Roman Catholic Church. ...


Around 1600 the modern notational system was generally adopted, along with barlines and the practice of writing multipart music in scores rather than only individual parts. In the 17th century, however, old usages came up occasionally. Here's an example from 1692, by Marc-Antoine Charpentier: In musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration. ... Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643 - February 24, 1704) was a French composer of the Baroque era. ...


Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2186x576, 208 KB)Anachronistic use of white mensural notation, Charpentier Te Deum Small fragment for illustrative purposes. ...


Origins

The British names go back at least to English renaissance music, and the terms of Latin origin had international currency at that time. Obviously, longa means 'long', and the rest mostly indicate relative shortness. Breve is from Latin brevis, 'short', minim is from minimus, 'very small', and quaver refers to the quivering effect of very fast notes. The elements semi-, demi- and hemi- mean 'half' in Latin, French and Greek respectively, while quasi- means 'almost'. The chain semantic shift whereby notes which were originally perceived as short came progressively to be long notes is interesting both linguistically and musically. However, the crotchet is named after the shape of the note, from the Old French for a 'little hook', and it is possible to argue that the same is true of the minim, since the word is also used in palaeography to mean a vertical stroke in mediaeval handwriting.


The American names are loan translations of the German terms: when American orchestras were first established in the 19th century they were populated to a significant degree by German emigrants. 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. ...


External links

  • On-line activity that counts musical notes

  Results from FactBites:
 
Note Values (2169 words)
On the downstem eighth note the stem is on the left side of the notehead and the flag (on the right side of the stem) is curving upward toward the notehead.
A half note is twice as fast as a whole note, a quarter note is twice as fast as a half note, and eighth note is twice as fast as a quarter note and so on.
A note is a symbol to play a tone on an instrument, while a rest is a symbol instructing the player to be silent for a specific rhythmic duration.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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