Note duration refers to how long a note should be played. It’s represented on sheet music using different types of notes. Some of these are shown above.
From left to right, they’re called the whole note, half note, quarter note, eighth note and sixteenth note.
Pretty self-explanatory stuff eh?
Each note has half the duration of the note to the left of it. So for example, 2 eighth notes would have the same duration as a single quarter note.
One thing to note about these notes is what’s referred to as flags, which are shown in red above. Each flag signifies that it has half the duration of the previous note. To clarify this, each note has been labelled with its’ corresponding duration. There is no real limit to how many flags can be on a note. For example a note with 4 flags is called a sixty-forth note and has a duration of 1/64.
Below is a brief overview of notes and their relationship to each other:
Until now, we’ve been talking about whole notes, half notes, quarter notes etc… This is actually the convention used in the US, but in other parts of the world (e.g. the UK) it can have other names.
The table below shows the alternative naming used, which can in all honesty get a tad silly:
|Octuple whole note||Maxima|
|Quadruple whole note||Longa|
|Double whole note||Breve|
|Hundred twenty-eighth note||Quasihemidemisemiquaver semihemidemisemiquaver|
|Two hundred fifty-sixth note||Demisemihemidemisemiquaver|
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