1.2 Notes, rests and accidentals

 

Category: Elementary music theory | Tags: Notes, rests and accidentals

In music, a note (Latin: nota) is a symbol denoting a musical sound. In English usage a note is also the sound itself. A note is a sign used in musical notation to represent the relative duration and pitch of a sound.

In this chapter, you'll learn about the duration of the quarter note, half note, whole note, and eighth note. You'll also learn what rests are and there duration. After that, you'll learn about accidentals, such as sharps, flats, and the natural sign.

1. Notes

 

In musical notation, you can write down the duration of a note, the note value. This allows you to notate rhythms, the alternation of short and long notes. The length of a note is expressed in the number of beats a note lasts. There are notes of 1 beat, of 2 beats and 4 beats but also of a half beat or a quarter beat. The note values are always twice as long or twice as short in relation to each other.

kwart noot kwartnoot Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education quarter note note played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note, one count.
halve noot halvenoot Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education half note note played for the value of two quarter notes, two counts.
hele noot helenoot Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education whole note note played for the value of four quarter notes, four counts.
halvenootpunt halvenootpunt Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education dotted half note note played for the value of three quarter notes, three counts.
achtstenoot achtstenoot Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education eighth note note played for half the value of a quarter note.
tie overgebonden Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education tie curved line connecting notes on the same line or space.
Notes are held down for the combined value of both notes.

 

Example

How are multiple eighth notes notated?

note example

In Chapter 1.5 Articulation you learn more about the use of ties and slurs.

2. Rests

 

Rests are signs used to indicate silences. You don't play then, but you have to continue counting. Rests, like note values, have a certain duration. Like notes, there are rests of 1 beat, 2 beats, 4 beats and so on.

kwart rust kwartrust Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education quarter rest rest for the value of a quarter note.
halve rust halverust Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education half rest rest played for the value of a half note.
hele rust helerust Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education whole rest rest played for the value of a whole note. Kan ook betekenen: hele maat rust.
achtsterust achtsterust Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education eighth rest rest played for half the value of a quarter rest.

 

The duration of notes and rests are expressed in beats and not seconds. You say: a note lasts 1 beat and not a note lasts 1 second. Of course, a note of 1 beat can last a second, but also 2 seconds or 1.5 seconds or 0.8 seconds. It depends on how fast you play, on the tempo. You learn more about tempo in Chapter 1.7 Tempo.

3. Sharps and flats

 

This chapter provides an overview of the main theory from Note Reading chapter 6. Accidentals, where you learn about sharps and flats.

flat mol Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education flat lowers a note a half step.
sharp kruis Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education sharp raises a note a half step.

 

Theory and practise

Learn more about sharps and flats and practise their names in Note Reading chapter 6. Accidentals.

Note Reading chapter 6. Accidentals

4. Accidentals

 

herstellingsteken herstelling Ch.1.2. Notes, rests and accidentals | Musictheory.education natural sign cancels any previous accidental (a note after a natural is always a white key).
  accidental a sign placed before a note: flat, sharp or natural.
  key signature accidentals placed at the beginning of each staff and affects all of the notes of that name throughout the piece.
  accidentals sharps or flats not given in the key signature, occur during the piece.

 

Example

The different accidentals.

note example