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Dotted Half Note and it's Family!

Dotted Half Note and its Family is part 20 and 21 of a 31 part series on musical notation and basic music theory. Any time a note has a dot next to it, it is called a dotted note of some kind. The duration of the note is one and one half times itself (1 1/2 x itself). You can also think of the note adding half of itself to itself.

*If A is the note and B is the dotted note, then A + A*1/2=B.

For example, the dotted note below is adding half of itself to itself. 2 + 1 = 3. Or 2 x (1 and a 1/2) is 3. You could say 2 x 3/2=3. In this case, you are adding a quarter note to a half note giving you your new note, which is equal to 3 beats.

Dotted Half Note

This note is very useful when you are in 3/4 time signature because it fills the measure just like a whole note fills the measure in 4/4 or common time.


The dotted quarter note is very common in music. Again, you are adding half to itself or multiplying the beat times 1 and 1/2. 1 x 1 1/2 (or 3/2)=1 1/2 beats. In this case you are adding an eighth note duration to the quarter note.

NOTE: In the video below one thing I don't mention is that the little curl above the eighth note chord and the half note chord, is called a "tie". This means they are literally tied together in terms of duration. So I am holding those notes or chords for 2 1/2 beats in each measure.


Below we have a chart that includes a dotted whole note and a dotted eighth note. Using the same formula, a dotted whole note is worth 6 beats (4+2). You add a half note to the duration of a whole note. The dotted eighth note is worth 3/4 of a beat (1/2 +1/4). You add a sixteenth note to the duration of an eighth note.

*I apologize for all the math, but once you get it…you really get it!!!

Ok, let's look at scales and chords!

Continue to Part 22, C Major Scale

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