A half note is also called a minim (British). What is it? We already looked at the whole note. A whole note lasts for four beats. Well, a mimin, as you must have rightly thought, lasts for half the time of a whole. It is played for twice the duration of a quarter note. In 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures, the 1/2 note is two beats long.
A whole note is in the shape of a hollow oval. A 1/2 note adds a straight note stem to that oval, and there are no flags (like a quarter note).
The stem of a half note can either face up or down. It all depends on where it is on the staff. When the note is below the middle line of the staff, the stem is drawn on the right of the note head and faces up. When the note is on or above the middle line it is drawn with the stem on the left of the note head, facing down.
To practice playing this note, turn on your metronome. Set it at a tempo of about 60 beats per minute (60 bpm). If you don’t have one you can do a search for an online metronome. Smart phones give you the option of downloading an app.
Count “1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 “.
Hold note for beats 1 and 2, then hold it for beats 3 and 4, then for beats 1 and 2, 3 and 4, etc. In other words, each note should last for two beats. You can also do it like this: note, click, note, click, note, click, note, click, etc.
Here’s a great video showing you how to count half notes:
In terms of duration, a half note (minim) is equal to two quarter notes, or four eighth notes.
A related symbol is the half rest. It has the same duration as a 1/2 note. It indicates silence for two beats (in common time) or half the time value of a whole rest. You count two beats but you play nothing during these beats. A half or minim rest resembles top hat in your sheet music. Half rests sit on the middle line of a staff and point in an upward direction.
Piano notes and keys – Learn the notes which correspond to the keys on the piano.