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Victoria Williams

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Next UK ABRSM theory exams:
Wednesday 4th March 2020, 5pm

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6. Dotted Notes

Grade One Music Theory - Lesson 6: Dotted Notes

Suitable for:  ABRSM Grade 1   Trinity Grade 1   GCSE   AP Music Theory Beginners 

 

What are Dotted Notes?

In music theory, all notes and rests can have their lengths increased if we add one or more dots. 

For Grade 1 music theory, you only need to understand what happens when we add one dot. Notes with dots are called dotted notes

(For Grade 1 Trinity, you'll only be tested on dotted minims (dotted half notes)).

Dots are always placed on the right side of the note head.

 

A dot makes a note (or rest) longer by 50%. Or, in other words, a dotted note is equal to itself, plus half of itself.

Let's say a crotchet (or "quarter note" in the USA) is worth one beat.

Crotchet/Quarter note - music theory

Crotchet (quarter note)=

1 beat


 If we add a dot to the note, its length is increased by 50% (the note plus half its length).

Dotted Crotchet/Quarter note - music theory

Dotted crotchet (quarter note)=

1 + 1/2 beat = 1 and a half beats


A minim (half note) is worth two beats.

Minim/Half note - music theory

 

If we add a dot, its length is also increased by 50%.


Dotted Minim/Half note - music theory

Dotted minim/half note=

2 + 1 = 3 beats


A quaver (eighth note) is worth half a beat.

Quaver/Eighth note - music theory

 

Adding a dot increases its length by 50%. 

Dotted Quaver/eighth note - music theory


 

If you find it difficult to think in numbers, try something more refreshing, like an orange! Point your cursor at the fruit to see what it represents.

Orange=Crotchet - music theory example

One whole orange is like one whole beat, or a crotchet (quarter note).

It's the same size as ...




Two halves=One = music theory example

...two half oranges (quavers/eighth notes)

or even

 

Four quarters=One - music theory example

four quarter oranges (semiquavers/sixteenth notes).

 

If you add a dot to a note, it's like adding a smaller bit of orange to the bit you've already got. One whole orange plus half an orange would be called a "dotted whole orange"! One half orange plus one quarter orange would be a "dotted half orange"! Smiley face for music theory