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EMT Lesson One  How to read music

Note values

To be able to read notes and create rhythm one needs to understand the value of notes. Notes are given names that represent their relationship to common time. Awareness of this fact helps in understanding the value of the note and also how time signatures are created.

Below is a chart showing the different types of notes along with their values. Each note is given its American/German name (related to its value) and also its British names: which are used widely by traditional classical musicians.

Figure 14. Note symbols and values

American / German note names British note names Note symbols Note 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

Next: Rest values