The goal for this lesson is the same as the previous lesson. This is information you must understand in order to read sheet music.
In the previous lesson we looked at note lengths and rests. In this lesson we will dive into dotted notes and tied notes.
Dotted notes extended a notes length by half. They give us access to note lengths in-between the basic note values.
A regular quarter note is worth ¼ a beat. A dotted quarter note is worth 1+½ a beat or in other words it's the same thing as a quarter note and an eighth note combined. It will be 1.5 beats long.
Another example is a dotted half note. Half of a half note is a quarter note, so a dotted half note is worth a half note plus a quarter note. It will be 3 beats long.
Note that for some of these notes on the piano roll you may need to change the grid resolution. These dots apply to the rests the exact same way.
|Dotted Whole Note & Rest |
|Dotted Half Note & Rest |
|Dotted Quarter Note & Rest |
|Dotted 8th Note & Rest |
|Dotted 16th Note & Rest |
|Dotted 32nd Note & Rest |
Multiple dots can be used to further divide the note up although this is more rare, usually you will at most see 2. Adding dots gives more detailed control over the note length, however if you find yourself using multiple dots often you may consider a different tempo. As you become more experienced you will be able to judge when dots are appropriate.
A double dotted half note is worth 1 half note + a quarter note + an eighth note. It will be worth 3.5 beats long.
We won’t worry much about these but you should know how the dot system works.
|Double Dotted Whole Note & Rest |
|Double Dotted Half Note & Rest |
|Double Dotted Quarter Note & Rest |
|Double Dotted 8th Note & Rest |
|Double Dotted 16th Note & Rest |
|Double Dotted 32nd Note & Rest |
What if you want to write a note that is longer than the measure? So far we have only looked at the whole note. That is only 4 beats long. What if you want a note that is eight beats long? The answer is a tie.
A tie is a line from one note to the next that indicates you should not re-sound the note, just keep going as if it's one big note. This is how you write notes that are longer than a measure or have note lengths that go over the bar line. Consider the following examples:
For the piano roll these note lengths can be fine tuned a lot more easily. When writing music we don’t need to be super precise because the musician will interpret it and give it the right style. A computer however will need much more exact instructions. Subtle changes in length, and the starting and ending points of notes can give different styles to the music.
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