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EMT Lesson One  How to read music

Rest values

Music is made up of silence as well as sound. Sound is represented by notes and silence is represented by rests.

Figure 15. Rest symbols and values

American / German note names British note names Rest symbols Rest value
Whole note Semibreve 4 beats
Half note Minim 2 beats
Quarter note Crotchet 1 beat
Eighth note Quaver 1/2 of a beat
Sixteenth note Semiquaver 1/4 of a beat
Thirty-second note Demisemiquaver 1/8 of a beat

Very often a note, or rest, will last for a number of beats not covered by the tables above, such as, one and a half beats.

There are two ways of showing this in music – dotted notes and ties.

Next: Dotted notes