Join Rick Schmunk for an in-depth discussion in this video Whole, half, and quarter notes, part of Learning Music Notation.
- [Instructor] Now that we have a basic understanding of how to notate pitch, let's move on and discuss how duration and rhythm are notated. So the duration of basic note values is indicated by the notehead type and presence or absence of a stem. For example, a whole note is simply an empty or hollow, oval notehead, without a stem. The actual value of a whole note depends on factors that we'll discuss in an upcoming video. But in most cases, a whole note is worth four counts or beats.
The next duration is the half note. It also consists of a hollow notehead, but this time we add a stem. The half note is worth one half the value of a whole note. So two half notes would equal one whole note. Similarly, the duration of a quarter note is worth one half the value of a half note. The quarter note notehead is a filled-in oval, again with a stem. So the graphic shows the relative values between whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes.
So a whole note would be worth two half notes, and each one of the half notes would be worth two quarter notes, or the whole note would be worth four quarter notes. When notating noteheads, the following standards are observed by most music publishers and notation programs. Noteheads with stems are drawn with a slight upwards or diagonal angle moving away from the stem. So I'm first gonna draw the notehead, I'll do a quarter note here, with a slight upward slant and then a stem.
When I convert it into the kinda the published look, you can see that that's what it looks like. If I do a half note, again it's going to be with a slight upward slant, moving away from the stem. If I draw a whole note here, and then convert it, you can see that the sides of the whole note are a little bit heavier in their font than the top or the bottom. Now, when we add a notehead to the staff, it should be relative to the staff size.
So for example, if I write a note on a space, so the notehead should touch the line above and the line below. If the notehead is drawn on a line, it should be centered on the line. Same thing with an open notehead. So I'll draw that, add the stem, do the same thing for one on the line, and I'll convert those so that we can see what they look like in the published view, and we can see that the notehead is touching both the line above that and below that on a note a space, and then the note on the line, it's exactly centered on the line.
So print a piece of staff paper, and notate the different note durations that we've discussed here. Like anything else, it takes a bit of repetition, or practice, to become familiar with how to correctly draw the noteheads.
It starts with notating pitch (clefs) and duration, including note lengths and rests. He moves into discussing flats, sharps, naturals, and key signatures, and the unique symbols for musical expression, including dynamics and articulations. He goes over notating chords and chord progressions, and the addition of vocals and lyrics. The course wraps with some score formatting tips and notation examples for piano, guitar, and drums, which pull together all the information into complete, publication-worthy pieces of sheet music.
- Notating pitch with clefs
- Notating duration
- Adding time signature and bars
- Using dots and ties
- Modifying pitch
- Notating scales
- Communicating expressions such as tempo and performance
- Notating chord progressions
- Notating vocals and lyrics
- Formatting a score