Sunday, 20 March 2011

What is a dotted note?

 This is more relevant to piano players studying with sheet music but I thought it could be interesting to some people. The topic today is dotted notes so lets get into it.

A dotted note is simple in theory but harder to do in practice. First, you must understand the difference between a full note, half note, quarter note, eighth notes and 16th notes, etc... I might do a lesson more in detail about those but just know that they are lengths of time for a note to be played. A whole note is long, a full 4 beat lets say where as a half note is half that time, a quarter is 1/4th the full note time etc....

A Dotted note is when you take whatever note there is and add a half of that note to it. So let's say we have a dotted whole note. That means the amount of time that note will take up is a whole note and a half note. (Divide the whole note by 2, then add). You could see this as a whole and a half, or 3 half notes. Either way its the same amount of time. This works for all the notes as well; a dotted 8th is an 8th plus a 16th.

Equation would be:   (Original Note / 2) + Original Note = Dotted Note

This is useful when trying to understand more complex rhythms...however it is always easier and better to listen to whatever you are trying to play and figure it out that way. The ear will always be able to be a better judge of what you are trying to achieve. Using dotted notes can really give you a more complex sound so you should check it out, it will allow you to spice things up from time to time to keep things from sounding boring.

Here's a picture I got from google giving you a little table for reference:


  1. I wonder how many successful musicians have no idea how to read this stuff.

  2. I used to know these but forgot a while ago

  3. I've been able to read sheet music since school, but I was never able to convert it into music. I mostly play by ear and by using tabs (when I'm playing the guitar).

  4. Hello! I just want to let you know that I have completed my university exams and in turn reactivated my entertainment blog What Goes On. I hope that you would include my blog back into your viewing experience and I hope that I can once again earn your viewership. Thanks, Jonny.