Dotted Musical Notes and Their Value

Dotted Musical Notes

Dotted Notes

Dotted notes are staff notes with one or two small dots at the back of the note. We can say that these are the musical notes written but differentiated by one or two dots. These dot or dots are normally at the right-hand side of the notes. The dot is placed after the note to indicate a change in the duration or length of the note. This is an indication that the dots at the side of the notes help their value (duration or length) to increase.

Dotted notes assist in de-clutter the music score from the use of ties. It will finally make musical pieces to be so much simple and easy to read. It is also possible to use dots across bar lines as we have seen in some compositions. However, in modern staff notation, dotted notes are used only if the value of a note does not stretch over the bar line. Otherwise, the tied notes will be used. This is because most of the writers in today’s world regard this usage of dots across bar lines as obsolete. In addition, they are advocating for the usage of a tie across the bar line instead.

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In staff music notation, we have two major types of dotted notes. They are single dotted notes and double dotted notes. We have Triple dotted notes also, but the usage of a triple-dotted note value is not common.

Single Dotted Notes

The single dotted note is a staff note with one small dot written at the back of the note. This dot increases the note in question by half (i.e. 1/2) of its original value. In a nutshell, when a dot is placed near a note, the length of the note is increased by half of its original value. Actually, this is a 50% increment in the value of a note. This means that if the main note lasts one beat, the dotted equivalent of the note will last one and a half beats. Also, if a basic note lasts two-beat, the dotted equivalent of it will last three beats.

Dotted Semibreve or Whole Notes

This is a semibreve with a dot by its right side also known as Dotted Whole Notes. In particular, semibreve as a staff note has 4 beats, which is equivalent to 4 crotchets. If we have a semibreve dotted, its new value will be 6 crotchets. The dot adds half the value of the note to the note (makes it half as long again). Since a semibreve, worth is 4 crotchets, and half of 4 is 2, this is sum up to give us 6 beats. That is 4 beats + 2 beats = 6 beats. Therefore , the value of a dotted Semibreve is 6 beats.

Dotted Minim or Half Notes

This is a minim with a dot by its right side also known as Dotted Half Notes. Specifically, minim as a staff note has 2 beats, which is equivalent to 2 crotchets. If we have a minim dotted, its new value will be 3 crotchets. The dot adds half the value of the note to the note (makes it half as long again). Since a minim’s worth is 2 beats (2 crotchets notes), and half of 2 is 1, this is sum up to give us 3beats. That is 2 beats + 1 beats= 3beats. Therefore , the value of a dotted Minim is 3beats.

Dotted Crotchets or Quarter Notes

This is a crotchet with a dot by its right side also known as Dotted Quarter Notes. Obviously. crotchets as a staff note have 1 beat which is equivalent to 2 quavers. If we have a crotchet dotted, its new value will be of 3 quavers. The dot adds half the value of the note to the note (makes it half as long again). Since a crotchet’s worth is 2 quaver, and half of 1 is 1/2, this is sum up to give us 11/2 beat. That is 1 beat + 1/2 beats = 11/2 beat. Therefore, the value of a dotted Crotchets is 11/2 beat.

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The example above shows that a single dot after a note increases a note’s value by 50%. In breaking to crotchet and to quavers, a dotted note is equivalent to writing the basic note tied to a note of half the value.

Double Dotted Notes

Obviously, a double dotted note is a staff note with two small dots written at the back of the note. The dots increase the note in question by three quarters (i.e. 34) of its original value. This is so because the second dot after a note takes half the value of the first dot. In this scenario, the first dot will contribute a 50% increase, and the second dot a 25% increase. Specifically, a double dot on a note triggers a 75% increment in the value of a note. In a nutshell, when a double-dot is placed near a note, the length of the note is increased by three-quarters of itself. The double-dotted as part of staff notation is used less compared to the dotted note.

Double Dotted Semibreve or Whole Notes

This is a semibreve with two dots by its right side also known as Double Dotted Whole Notes. Absolutely, semibreve as a staff note has 4 beats which are equivalent to 4 crotchets. If we have a semibreve as a double dotted note, its new value will be 7 crotchets. The first dot will add half of the value of the note to the note. And the second dot will add half of the value of the first dot.

Since a semibreve’s worth is 4 beats, half of 4 is 2, and half of 2 is 1. And when we add 4 beats to 2 and 1, it will be summed up to 7 beats. That is 4 beats + 2 beats + 1 beat = 7 beats. In a nutshell, the value of a double dotted Semibreve is 7 beats.

Double Dotted Minim or Half Notes

This is a minim with two dots by its right side also known as Double Dotted Half Notes. Categorically, minim as a staff note has two beats which are equivalent to two crotchets. If we have a minim as a double dotted note, its new value will be three crotchets and 1 quaver. The first dot will add half the value of the note to the note. And the second dot will add half of the value of the first dot.

Since a minim’s worth is 2 beats, half of 2 is 1, and half of 1 is 1/2. And when we add 2 beats to 1 and 1/2, it will be summed up to 31/2 beats. That means 2 beats + 1 beat + 1/2 beat = 3 1/2. In a nutshell, the value of a double dotted Minim is 3 1/2 beat.

Double Dotted Crotchet or Quarter Notes

This is a crotchet with two dots by its right side also known as Double Dotted Quarter Notes. Specifically, crotchet as a staff note has 1 beat which is equivalent to 2 quavers. Provided crotchet is a double-dotted note, its new value will be one crotchet, one quaver, and one semi-quaver. The first dot will add half the value of the note to the note. And the second dot will add half of the value of the first dot.

Since a crotchet’s worth is 1 beat, and half of 1 is 1/2, and half of 1/2 is 1/4 . And when we add 1 beat to 1/2, and 1/4 , it will be summed up to 1 and 3/4 beat. That is 1 beat + 1/2 beats + 1/4 beat = 1 3/4. In a nutshell, he value of a double dotted Crotchet is 1 3/4 beat.

Notation Of Dotted Notes On The Stave

In terms of notation on the stave, if the dotted note is on a space, its rhythm dot also goes on the space. But if it’s on a line, the dot goes on the space above. The same thing applies to notes on ledger lines. We should not be confused with the dots for staccato articulation with the dots on dotted notes. Normally, staccato articulation is located above or below the note. And on the other hand, dots for the dotted notes are located to the right of the note.


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One thought on “Dotted Musical Notes and Their Value

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    Nice….. I had longed to learn this. Thanks

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