PIANO LESSONS FOR BEGINNERS

Dotted Quarter Note

Let's review the time values of the notes you've learned:

The eighth notes are sometimes referred to as “two to a count” notes. Each eighth note gets ½ count. When they appear as a pair of eighth notes,
as the eighth notes above, they get a combined time value of one count. However, each individual eighth note is equal to ½ count.

Quarter notes equal one count each
Half notes receive equal two counts each
Dotted half notes equal three counts each
Whole notes equal four counts each

The only difference between the half note and the dotted half note is the dot.
A dot to the right of a note adds one-half the value of that note to what it already gets.
A half note gets two counts. A dot to the right of the half note adds ½ of those two counts which is one count.

So, a dotted half note gets three counts: Two counts plus the one count the dot adds.

In the next piece of music, you have a dotted quarter note which looks like its name suggests:
A dotted quarter note is a quarter note with a dot on the right side of the note. (The dot is always on the right of the note.)
So, how many counts does a dotted quarter note get? A dot adds half the value of the note to the number of counts the note already gets.
A quarter note gets one count. One-half of one is ½.
So, a dotted quarter note gets 1 ½ counts: One count for the quarter note and ½ count for the dot.

Reminder: It always helps to read through a piece of music before you try to play it. Look at the time signature and the key signature.
(In this piece, there are no sharps or flats). See if you can name the notes. Also, look at the time values: How many counts does each note get?

In this piece, the time signature is 3 | 4 which means each measure receives three counts.

First, let's look at the notes. The first three measures are the same. The last measure is a Middle C.
So, let's look at the first measure which is repeated two more times.

The first note is Middle C. The second note is one line higher. The third note is one note higher than the second note.

So, the notes move up one line at a time. That means you go from Middle C to E to G. You are playing every other key.
(Reminder: From line to line is two notes. The space note is between.)

Here's how to count the previous piece with the dotted quarter note rhythm:

When all the notes get whole numbers of counts, it's fine to count in whole counts: 1 2 3 . . .
In this piece, however, you have dotted quarter notes which get 1 ½ counts each and eighth notes which get ½ count each.

By counting 1 and 2 and 3 and, you are dividing each count into two equal parts. The 1, 2, 3 represents the first half of the count.
The “and” represents the second half of the count.

The sole purpose of counting is to help you maintain steady beat. That means your counting must be steady and even.
When you count 1 and 2 and 3 and . . . think about the tick, tock sound of a clock . . .
In the counting example above, the numbers are “scrunched” together on some of the notes. That's only to make it absolutely clear
which counts go with which notes. When you count, however, try your best to make your counting as even as possible.

That's the whole purpose of counting. You are measuring the time for each note.
Remember: When counting, think of a clock ticking or anything else that creates a steady rhythm.
Previous Lesson | Next Lesson
Return to Main Lesson Page