- A dot, placed after a
rest on the
stave, indicates that the
note length or
rest length is increased
by half the original length of the note or rest.
- In arithmetical terms, this means that the note or rest is 150% of
its normal value, or 1.5 times.
- For a note, the dot is placed immediately to the right of the head of the note,
aligned with the centre of the circle, or, if this would lie on a line
of the stave, slightly above:
- For a rest,
the dot is placed immediately to the right of the rest,
within the space on the stave:
However, rests with dots are often
not used, it is more common to see multiple rests.
- A note is said to be dotted if it has a dot following it.
- For example, a dotted crotchet is three quavers long, rather than
two; a dotted semibreve is six crotchets rather than four.
- It is possible, although it is quite rare, to have two (or, extremely
rarely, three) dots.
- The rule applies cumulatively to the original value of
the note, so the second dot adds another quarter of the
original length of the note, the third dot adds another one
eighth of the original length.
- The note is said to be double-dotted or
- So a note with two dots is 175% of the normal value or 1.75
- A note with three dots is 187.5% or 1.875 times.
- For example, a double-dotted minim is the same length as
seven quavers (4 + 2 + 1). A triple-dotted semibreve is the
same length as fifteen quavers (8 + 4 + 2 + 1).
- Dots can also be placed above the
stave over a
note, but these have a totally different
meaning in this context. They are staccato marks,
meaning that the note in question should be played detached.
- In music up to the Baroque period (including that of Bach and Handel),
the use of dots was not so precise as described above. A dot meant an
approximate lengthening by a half, but, depending on the
context, it could be more or less than this. In those days, a double
dot was not in common use.
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