Short, to-the-point, and easy-to-understand classical music composer biography on Claude Debussy provided by Five Minute Mozart.

Advanced Rhythm - The Dot

Run time: 4m 25s  |  Release Date: May 8th, 2020

Section 1 - "Introduction"

In this short video series we are going to discuss some of the ways in which certain rhythmic durations can be extended. However if you are unfamiliar with basic rhythmic durations such as whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes please take the time to review these subjects by clicking on the link in the description below.

Section 2 - "Dotted Half Note"

The dot is a symbol in music which when placed next to a note or rest increases the rhythmic duration of that note by half of its original value. For example, a half note on any staff position sounds for two full beats, and a half rest requires two beats of silence. When a dot is placed next to a half note the duration of that note increases from two beats to three beats. Here's why: if a half note sounds for two beats and a dot adds half of that note's original value, because half of two equals one and two plus one equals three, the duration of a dotted half note is therefore three beats.

Section 3 - "Dotted Whole Note"

Likewise, a dot placed next to a whole note would increase its rhythmic duration from four beats to six beats. Knowing that half of four equals two, and four plus two equals six, a dotted whole note would then sound for six beats. For this reason a dotted whole note may not be used in a measure with a 4/4 time signature. The time signature would have to allow for the equivalent of six equal beats in each measure in order to hold a dotted whole note.

Section 4 - "Dotted Quarter Note - Down Beat"

Seeing how a quarter note placed on any staff position sounds for one full beat, when a dot is placed next to a quarter note its duration extends from one beat to one and a half beats.

Let's put this into perspective. Knowing that each quarter note can be rhythmically subdivided into two equal eighth notes, the duration of a dotted half note can essentially be looked at as being comparatively the same as the combination of one quarter note and one eighth note. Therefore, when a dotted quarter note is placed on a downbeat it will pass through the next downbeat and extend until the following upbeat.

Section 5 - "Dotted Quarter Note - Up Beat"

On the other hand, if a dotted quarter note was placed on an up beat it would then extend through the following down beat and up beat. The next note or rest will be played on the following down beat. Here is how it sounds.

Section 6 - "Dotted Eighth Note - Down Beat"

Because an eighth note can be subdivided into two equal sixteenth notes, when a dot is placed next to an eighth note it extends the rhythmic duration of that note to the equivalent of three equal sixteen notes. This means that a dotted eighth note played directly on the down beat will be counted by saying, "One - EE - And". The remainder of the beat is then filled with a single sixteenth note or sixteenth rest.

In the following example we can see that beats one and three have been subdivided into four equal sixteenth notes while beats two and four contain a dotted eighth note and sixteenth note.

Section 7 - "Dotted Eighth Note - EE"

Now, it is also possible to have a dotted eighth note placed on the second sixteenth note subdivision of the down beat. In this situation the dotted eighth note would sustain through the "EE - And - AH" part of the beat.

Section 8 - "Wrap Up"

In the next video we are going to talk about the tie. We will see how, like the dot, the tie extends the rhythmic duration of the note it is connected to.

Watch Next:

6 - The Tie.png

A quarter note on any staff position sounds for one beat each. If we place a tie between the quarter notes on beats three and four their rhythmic values are then combined to make the duration of the quarter note on beat three now worth two beats. As you can see, a quarter note tied to another quarter results in a rhythmic duration which is essentially the same as a single half note.

When a tie is used to connect a half note to a quarter note the rhythmic duration of the half note extends from two beats to three beats. In the previous video we learned that a dot adds half of the rhythmic value of the note that it is attached to. A half note tied to a quarter note is an essentially the same as a dotted half note.