Rhythm

Notes and Rests
Location on the staff determines the pitch of a note.
This page is about duration. The time signature tells
how these durations relate to the beat.
Anatomy Of A Note

BODY

Whole notes and double whole notes consist only of a body. Half notes and quarter notes have a stem. The body on the quarter and all notes smaller is solid.

FLAGS
Eighth notes have a flag, sixteenth notes have two flags and so on. Flagged notes are often barred.

RESTS
A rest indicates silence. A rest may be dotted but need never be tied!
HOW TO REMEMBER
If a whole rest were a hat, with its attached line as the brim, it could be full.  
A half rest's hat is empty!  
STEMS
A stem extends one octave from the last note body or to the center line, whichever is longer. The direction of the stem is usually from the note farthest from the middle line of the staff, back towards that line. If the farthest notes are equidistant from the center, or there is a single note on the center line, then the stem goes down. This protocol may be broken when two parts share the same staff. In this case each part has its stems go in one direction to keep it distinct. Notice that stems going down are on the left, going up on the right.
TIES AND DOTS

A tie joins notes together. This is always used when a note's duration extends across a bar line.

A dot extends a note's, or a rest's, duration by half; a double dot by another quarter!

R H Y T H M
T O P
NOTE VALUES

This chart shows the relative value of common notes and rests. To know how they relate to the beat one would have to consider the time signature.


BARRED NOTES

Notice that notes with flags are often barred together when adjacent:

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