08 Apr Lesson 19: Dotted Rhythms
In my last blog post, I discussed the different functions various chords have within each musical key. In this lesson, we’ll be looking at dotted rhythms in music.
You may remember from earlier lessons about the basic note values: there are two eighth notes in a quarter note, two quarter notes in a half note, and two half notes in a whole note. Sometimes you may see a dot to the right of the note head for any of these values. This dot changes how the note should be counted; dots next to note heads always lengthen the note by half its value.
Let’s look first at one of the simpler examples of a dotted rhythm. In 4/4 time, the half note receives two beats. So, a dotted half note would receive three beats. This is because the dot is worth half of two, which is one. Check out the breakdown of a dotted half note below, which shows beats one and two for the half note, and beat three for its dot:
You can apply the same principle for smaller note values. For example, in 4/4 time the dotted quarter note receives a total of one and a half beats: one beat for the quarter note and half a beat for its dot. It’s common for a dotted quarter note to be followed by an eighth note (worth half a beat), as the combination of dotted quarter note and eighth note makes a total of two beats. The quarter note receives all of beat one plus half of beat two, and the eighth note receives the other half of beat two:
See if you can find some examples of dotted rhythms in various scores, and try clapping the notes while counting aloud.
The next lesson will explain tuplets, another rhythmic concept in music.
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