Rhythmic Dictation | The Dot
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.
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.
Likewise, a dot placed next to a whole note would increase its rhythmic duration from four beats to six beats.
We know that a whole note sounds for 4 equal 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.