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How to understand Types of Musical notes, Crotchest , Quavers and Minims etc

This section continues from the previous section which dealt with Key Signatures and Time Signatures. Now it is time to introduce the types of Music Notes, rests and dotted notes you may encounter while reading music. Learning the Types of Music Notes such as Crotchets, Quavers, Minims, etc. is vital when reading music. This is musical information and music theory which may help if you are learning the piano, keyboard or indeed any other instrument. The information below is ideal for quick musical reference purposes.

Types of Music Notes

There are different types of music notes, each with a different duration measured in beats. These notes are outlined below.

Detail Note Rest


Whole Note 4 Crotchets
semibreve semibreve rest


Half Note 2 Crotchets
minim minim rest


Quarter Note 1 Crotchets
crotchet crotchet rest


Eight Note ½ a Crotchet
quaver quaver rest


16th note ¼ a Crotchet
semi-quaver semi-quaver rest

An Example of how time signatures and note durations / types are measured

As you can see from the diagram below we use the music notes and symbols we learned above. Firstly we notice that the time signature is 3:4 time, so there are 3 beats in the bar. The first bar has a minim, which is 2 beats and a crotchet which is 1 beat = total of 3 beats. The second bar has 2 quavers, each a half beat each, and we have 2 crotchets, therefore we get 2 half notes + 2 whole notes = 3 beats. Finally, the last bar as a crotchet and a minim again totalling 3 beats. Hopefully you can see below how the music notes are used for timing of beats and how long you play the notes for.

An Example of how time signatures and note durations / types are measured

Dotted Notes and Other Musical Symbols

Notes can be lengthened by placing a dot beside them. A dotted note is lengthened by half the value of the original note – therefore a dotted minim is 2 beats + ½(2 beats) = 2 beats + 1 beat = total of 3 beats.

Brief Glossary of Musical Terms >>>