More about Dotted Notes

Friday, April 20, 2007

We have seen that putting a dot after a note increases its length by half, and thus that the dotted quarter note lasts for a quarter note and a half, or a quarter plus an eighth. When the eighth note was the beat, as in "The Ash Grove,” there was no problem because the dotted quarter lasted for three eighth-note beats. But what if the count is in quarter notes, as in 4/4 time? The dotted quarter will now have one and a half beats, and we have to find a way to count this.

Here is how it is done:
The quarter note lasts into the next beat, so we count the next number while holding the note. If the dotted quarter is followed by an eighth note (as it frequently is), the eighth note would be on the second half of the second beat, so it would be counted with an “and.”

Try counting and tapping these examples.

It is worth persisting with the above two examples until you really understand the count. The dotted quarter note is the hardest one for most beginners to count.

Now try counting and playing these examples.


“Muss I Denn”

Irish Air: “Endearing Young Charms”