Music Theory Education


4. Rests and Their Time Values

4. rests and their time values

Grade 1. lesson 4 rests and their time values

Rests and their time values come in all the different shapes, just like the music notes, You will find a rest with the same time value has the equivalent music note. Like the notes the music rests all take different shapes. You will see we start the lesson with two rests which look identical, so how do we tell the difference of each rest. Because they are placed in different parts of the staff lines, their time vales are different. Look below and read about these two rests and their time values. It is most important you remember which one is which.

What are rests? Why do we need them?


Rests are used to show beats of silence. Like the music notes, each rest as its own shape.
This makes it easy to tell how many beats of silence to give for that rest.

We have two rests which look very much alike, many students get these rests mixed up.

So, we need to make sure you don't.


Semibreve (whole rest) Minim (half rest)

Take a careful look at these two rests written above.

What do you notice about them?

Let's think about the difference of these two rests.


music symbol semibreve rest (whole rest)

This semibreve (whole rest) hangs from the 4th Line.

Where the semibreve (whole note) gives 4 beats of sound, the

semibreve rest (whole rest) gives 4 beats of silence.

It is just a small black oblong, attached to the fourth line and hanging into the third space.

When you draw one, make sure it only goes half way into the space, it must NOT touch line 3.


music symbol minim rest (half rest)

This Minim (Half Rest) sits on the third line

The minim rest (half rest) value is 2 beats of silence.

It is a small black oblong, attached to the third line and using half of the third space.
It is important you do NOT let it touch the line above.

It's easy now to see why one can confuse these two rests, hopefully you will not.


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music symbol crotchet (quarter rest)

There are two ways to draw this rest, the most popular is

Starting in the fourth space, draw a letter Z

then add a small letter c.

The crotchet (quarter rest) value 1 beat of silence. 

If after practice you find this difficult, you may use the easier sign of Ex 3a.
  however, do keep trying, I'm sure you want to use Ex 3.

Ex 3a style is very seldom used in modern music. Also it looks
  very much like the next rest I am going to show you.


music symbol quaver rest (eighth rest)

The quaver (eighth rest) value 1/2 beat of silence. 

Draw this rest by starting in the 3rd space, and ending in the 1st space.


Semiquaver (sixteenth rest)

The semiquaver (sixteenth rest) value 1/4 beat of silence. 

Draw this rest by starting in the 3rd space, add a second knob in space two,


The Note and the Rest


Semibreve (whole note) note and rest


minim (half note) music note and rest


crotchet (quarter note) music note and rest


quaver (eighth note) music note and rest


semiquaver (sixteenth note) music note and rest



4 Rests and Their Time Values



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