Note Values

Learning to read music involves mastering two different musical subsystems: pitch notation and rhythmic notation.

  • Pitch is indicated by the placement of a note on a five-line staff (the higher the note on the staff, the higher the pitch
  • Rhythm, on the other hand, is written with note value symbols, which show duration.
  • Note Lengths

    The following note values are the most commonly used:

    Full Note

  • Half Note

    Quarter Note

    Eighth Note

    Whole Note:

    Covers every beat in 4/4 time.In common time, a whole note takes all four beats.

    Half Note:

    Is half the length of a whole note. Covers two beats in common time.

    Quarter Note:

    Is 1/4 the length of a whole note.Is one beat in common time.

    Eighth Note:

    Is 1/8 the length of a whole note; half the length of a quarter note. Two eighth notes make one beat.

    Sixteenth Note:

    Is 1/16 the length of a whole note; half the length of an eighth note. Four sixteenth notes equal one beat of common time.

    Thirty-Second Note:

    Is 1/32 the length of a whole note; 1/4 the length of an eighth note. Eight thirty-second notes equal one beat of common time.

    Sixty-Fourth Note:

    Is 1/64 the length of a whole note; 1/8 of an eighth note. Sixteen sixty-fourth notes equal one beat of common time.


    Music Scales

    A Scale is a group of pitches - usually numbering from five to eight - that are most often arranged in ascending or descending patterns of whoole steps and half steps. The scale is a fundamental building block of music, much as the skeleton is the fundation of the human body.

    Descending chromatic scale usually written with sharps

    Notice that these are all the notes on the keyboard - black and white within one octave

    Scale is an interval pattern of five whole steps and two diatonic half steps. The half steps always occur between the third and fourth tones and the seventh and first tones of the scale. The concept of a scale as an interval pattern that reflects the interval patterns of melody and harmony is fundamental to udnertanding tonal music

    Following are some examples of scales:

    C Major Scale - All notes are natural,the only major scale not to require sharps or flats, using only the white keys on the piano

    G Major Scale - In G major scale, F is play as sharp key

    D Major Scale - In D major scale, F and C is play as sharp key

    A Major Scale - F, C and G key is play as sharp