We've already learnt that the shape of a note can affect its length. We found out that whole notes are held for a count of four, and half notes are held for a count of two.
Notes that are held for a count of one are called quarter notes.
Quarter notes look a lot like half notes - the only difference is that the note head is filled in with a solid black color, whereas half notes have open circles (well, ovals really).
Here are the notes from middle C up to the C an octave higher, in quarter notes.
Notice that the direction of the note stems changes about halfway up the stave - the lower notes (C to A) have their stems pointing upwards, but the higher ones (B and C) have theirs pointing downwards. This is just to make the music look tidier.
Listen and sing along to this melody. The woodblock will keep a steady beat when you press "play". This melody uses quarter notes and half notes.
This one uses quarter notes and whole notes.
And this one uses quarter notes, half notes and whole notes.
Most music is written with barlines - vertical lines which cut through the stave. Barlines divide the music up into measures, which are usually (but not always) the same length. You should give a slightly stronger emphasis to the first note in each measure.
This melody has been divided into measures which are two beats long. Try to sing along.
This melody has been divided into measures of three beats.
And this one is in four.
Here are some short melodies to practice. See how many you can name! (Hover your mouse over the stave to reveal the name of the song!)