What are Quarter Notes and How to Play Them

If you’re trying to master music, understanding how the quarter note works is critical to your success.

If you’re not familiar with this note, that’s okay — we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about quarter notes.

Let’s get started!

What Exactly Are Quarter Notes?

Quarter notes, also called crotchets, are short notes. This type of note has a fourth of the value of time of a whole note.

In other words, four quarter notes last the same length of time that a whole note does. Likewise, two-quarter notes are equivalent to the length of time of a 1/2 note.

The Appearance of a Quarter Note

You can spot quarter notes by their filled-in heads and flagless, straight stems. Half notes, on the other hand, have hollow heads.

Typically, if this type of note is under the stave’s middle area, the stem will point upward and be on the note’s right side. Meanwhile, if the quarter note is over the stave’s middle area, the stem will point downward and be on the note’s left side.

Playing the Quarter Note

You play the quarter note for 50% of a half note’s duration and for double an eighth note’s duration. In 4/4 time, the note gets a single beat.

Use a metronome to familiarize yourself with playing the quarter note. (If you do not have one on hand, you can find metronome features online or on smartphone apps.)

To start out, set the device for a total of 60 beats a minute. Then, count from one to four out loud three times in a row, keeping time with the beat.

In this situation, every beat represents a quarter note. You may play notes of your choosing, repeating them on the beat. Every time a note is played with the beat, a quarter note is being played.

A Word about Quarter Rests

Understanding a quarter rest is an important part of understanding the quarter note as well.

A rest in music represents a period of silence. Note that quarter notes have the same duration as quarter rests. In addition, quarter rests are equivalent to a fourth of the length of time as whole rests.

When you spot a rest on a sheet of music, this means you should not play anything during the rest period. So, anytime you notice quarter rests, you need to pause for a single beat each time.

How We Can Help

We offer top-notch resources for those interested in learning music.

For example, we can show you how to play the piano, guitar, flute, or clarinet correctly. You can find out the easiest guitar songs for novices to play or even the best apps for playing certain types of instruments.

We also offer tips on how to choose the best instruments, whether you’re wanting to buy a violin or even a didgeridoo.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about how quarter notes work and how you can start playing them with confidence going forward.

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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