Music Theory Education


3. Time Value of Music Notes

3. time value of music notes

Grade 1. lesson 3 Time Value of Music Notes

How much value do we give to each kind of music note?

The different note shapesindicate different time values,
telling the musician how long to hold the sound of the note, in other words
how many beats does each kind of note have.


1 beat Value Note

crotchet note (quarter note) grade 1 lesson The Crotchet (quarter note) is a 1 beat note

I can hear you saying, 'How long does 1 beat last?'


Well that depends on how slow or fast you want to play the music.

Let's look at it this way.

Think of the ticking of a clock, if you give one beat for each second in time, you
would play 60 crotchet (quarter notes) per minute.

This of course would be very slow, (however, it is possible to find music
written at a very slow pace.)

To help understand the difference in note values, we will stick with the
crotchet (quarter note) beat being worth 1 second of time.

We will look at the time values of the five popular notes used in music and
work with these. Other notes will be introduced when required.

So far we have looked at the crotchet (quarter note),we now know the note
  value of a crotchet (quarter note) is 1. Beat


2 Beat Valued Note

minim (half note) music time value 2 beatsThe minim (half note)which is twice the length

of the crotchet (quarter note) will require 2 seconds of time to cover its beat value.


music theory lessons grade one

Music Theory Lessons Grade One

containing 18 detailed Lessons

This book contains all the information for Time value of Music Notes
required for grade one examination, set in lesson 3 of this book.

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4 Beat Valued Note

semibreve (whole note) 4 beat music beat valueStaying with the 1 second per beat, we will need

to use 4 seconds on our clock to cover the value of the semibreve (whole note).


Now we will look at notes of less value than the crotchet (quarter note).


1/2 Beat Valued Note

quaver (eighth note) half a beat valueThese quaver (eighth notes) are only worth half the

value of the crotchet (quarter note), you would need to play two of these notes to
  equal the value of 1 second of time.



1/4 Beat Valued Note

semiquaver (sixteenth note) music value 1/4 beat And finally we have the semiquaver (sixteenth note)

you would need to play 4 of these notes to equal the value of 1 second of time.



Pyramid of Music Notes


pyamid of notes Time Value of notes

The pyramid of notes above clearly shows how many of each kind are needed to make
  the value of the Semibreve (Whole Note).

Also notice the stem of the note can be drawn either Up or Down.

(more about note stems later).


Are you wondering where is a three beat note?

Notes with 3 beats will be explained when we introduce 'Dotted Notes'.



Time Values of Music Notes



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