In conventional notation, a single musical sound is composed as a note. The 2 the majority of crucial things a written piece of music demands to tell you around a note are its pitch - exactly how high or low it is - and also its duration - how lengthy it lasts.

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To find out the pitch of a created note, you look at the clef and the vital signature, then watch what line or space the note is on. The better a note sits on the staff, the higher it sounds. To discover out the duration of the composed note, you look at the tempo and also the moment signature and also then watch what the note looks like.

Figure1.43.The Parts of a Note


All of the parts of a created note impact how lengthy it lasts.

The pitch of the note counts just on what line or area the head of the note is on. (Please check out pitch , clef and also vital signature for even more indevelopment.) If the note does not have a head (check out Figure1.44), that suggests that it does not have one definite pitch.

Figure1.44.Notes Without Heads


If a note does not have head, it does not have actually one definite pitch. Such a note might be a pitchmuch less sound, choose a drum beat or a hand clap, or it may be an entire chord rather than a single note.

The head of the note may be filled in (black), or not. The note might additionally have actually (or not) a stem, one or more flags, beams connecting it to various other notes, or one or even more dots complying with the head of the note. All of these points affect just how a lot time the note is given in the music.


A dot that is someplace various other than beside the head of the note does not influence the rhythm. Other dots are articulation marks. They might affect the actual size of the note (the amount of time it sounds), yet perform not impact the amount of time it should be offered. (The additional time once the note could be sounding, but isn"t, becomes an unwritten rest.) If this is confutilizing, please check out the explacountry in articulation.

The Length of a Note

Figure1.45.Many Common Note Lengths


The simplest-looking note, with no stems or flags, is a totality note. All other note lengths are characterized by just how lengthy they last compared to a entirety note. A note that lasts half as lengthy all at once note is a half note. A note that lasts a quarter as lengthy overall note is a quarter note. The pattern continues with eighth notes, sixteenth notes, thirty-second notes, sixty-fourth notes, and also so on, each form of note being fifty percent the length of the previous type. (Tbelow are no such thing as 3rd notes, 6th notes, tenth notes, and so on.; see Dots, Ties, and also Borrowed Divisions to uncover out how notes of unexplained lengths are composed.)



Note lengths job-related just favor fractions in arithmetic: 2 half notes or four quarter notes last the very same amount of time as one totality note. Flags are frequently reinserted by beams that attach the notes into easy-to-read groups.

You might have actually noticed that some of the eighth notes in Figure1.46 don"t have actually flags; rather they have a beam connecting them to one more eighth note. If flagged notes are alongside each various other, their flags can be replaced by beams that connect the notes into easy-to-read teams. The beams may connect notes that are all in the exact same beat, or, in some vocal music, they may connect notes that are sung on the same message syllable. Each note will have the exact same variety of beams as it would have flags.

Figure1.47.Notes with Beams


The notes connected via beams are much easier to read quickly than the flagged notes. Notice that each note has actually the exact same variety of beams as it would certainly have actually flags, even if it is associated to a various form of note. The notes are frequently (yet not always) connected so that each beamed team gets one beat. This provides the notes much easier to read easily.

You may have also noticed that the note lengths sound favor fractions in arithmetic. In truth they work-related incredibly much like fractions: 2 fifty percent notes will certainly be equal to (last as lengthy as) one entirety note; four eighth notes will certainly be the same size as one fifty percent note; and so on. (For classroom tasks relating music to fractions, check out Fractions, Multiples, Beats, and also Measures.)



Exercise 1.6.1. (Go to Solution)

Draw the lacking notes and fill in the blanks to make each side the very same duration (size of time).


So exactly how long does each of these notes actually last? That counts on a pair of points. A composed note lasts for a certain amount of time measured in beats. To find out precisely how many beats it takes, you should know the moment signature. And to uncover out how lengthy a beat is, you need to recognize the tempo.



In any kind of certain area of a item of music, a half note is always twice as lengthy as a quarter note. But exactly how lengthy each note actually lasts relies on the time signature and the tempo.
More about Stems

Whether a stem points up or down does not affect the note length at all. Tright here are 2 standard ideas that result in the rules for stem direction. One is that the music must be as straightforward as feasible to review and understand. The various other is that the notes need to tfinish to be "in the staff" as a lot as fairly possible.

Basic Stem Direction Rules

Single Notes - Notes below the middle line of the staff need to be stem up. Notes on or over the middle line must be stem down.

Notes sharing a stem (block chords) - Usually, the stem direction will be the direction for the note that is furthest away from the middle line of the staff

Notes sharing a beam - Again, primarily you will certainly want to usage the stem direction of the note farthest from the center of the staff, to store the beam close to the staff.

Different rhythms being played at the very same time by the exact same player - Clarity calls for that you compose one rhythm through stems up and the various other stems down.

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Two parts for different performers created on the exact same staff - If the parts have the very same rhythm, they may be created as block chords. If they perform not, the stems for one component (the "high" part or "first" part) will suggest up and also the stems for the other part will certainly point down. This dominion is particularly essential when the 2 components cross; otherwise tright here is no method for the performers to understand that the "low" component have to be analysis the high note at that spot.