Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Music/Note duration

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The names of the types of notes come from the fraction of a measure that each note gets in bar of music in four four time. In the 4/4 time signature, the top 4 indicates how many beats are in each bar of music, and the lower 4 indicates that a quarter note gets one beat. Since four quarter notes would fill the entire bar, they are called quarter notes. A half note would get two beats, or ½ of the measure, and a whole note gets 4 beats or the whole measure.

Quarter notes have a solid note head with a stem attached.

Two Quarter Notes and a Quarter Rest

Half notes have a hollow note head with a stem attached.

Two Half Notes and a Half Rest

Whole notes have a hollow note head, but no stem at all.

Whole Note Whole Rest