This is part three of our free online piano lessons. In part three we take a look at quarter notes, half notes, whole notes, rhythm, bar lines and measures.
Every note in music has a particular length. Some are long and some are short. We measure the length of these notes by counting.
What is a quarter note? A quarter note (American) or crotchet (British) is a very short note. It is half the length of a half note. It is played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note (or semibreve). Quarter notes are notated with a filled-in oval note head and a straight, flagless stem. The stem usually points upwards if it is below the middle line of the stave or downwards if it is on or above the middle line.
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Don’t worry if you don’t understand many of these terms now. For now, remember that every time you come across a quarter note, count one beat. It takes two quarter notes to make a half note.
The following indicates a quarter note symbol.
Next in our free online piano lessons we take a look at the half note. In music, a half note (American) or minim (British) is a note played for half the duration of a whole note (or semibreve) and twice the duration of a quarter note (or crotchet). Half notes are notated with a hollow oval note head (like a whole note) and a straight note stem with no flags. Half notes are drawn with stems to the right of the notehead, facing up, when they are below the middle line of the staff. When they are on or above the middle line, they are drawn with stems on the left of the note head, facing down.
Again, if you’re just starting out you may not understand many of these terms. Don’t worry they will be clearer as we go along. Just remember that a half note has twice the duration of a quarter note and that you should count two beats every time you come across a half note. Hold the note down and count two beats in your head.
The following indicates a half note symbol.
Watch this lesson:
Learn about quarter notes, half notes, whole notes, rhythm, bar lines and measures.
The third type of note in our free online piano lessons is the whole note. A whole note is a very long note. It is twice the length of a half note and four times the length of a quarter note. Every time you come across a whole note, count four beats. In other words, hold the note down on the piano and count four beats. In music, a whole note (American) or semibreve (in the rest of the English-speaking world) is a note represented by a hollow oval note head, like a half note (or minim), and no note stem.
The following indicates a whole note symbol.
The combination of notes into patterns is called rhythm. Bar lines are the vertical lines on a music staff which divide the staff into measures. The notes and rests between two bar lines on the music staff are known as a measure.
Bar lines and measures
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- Lesson One
- Lesson Two
- Lesson Three
- Lesson Four
- Lesson Five
- Lesson Six
- Lesson Seven
- Lesson Eight
- Lesson Nine
- Lesson Ten
- Lesson Eleven
- Lesson Twelve