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Lesson 5: Dotted Quarter Notes

Practice PatternsLesson 5 Practice Patterns


In Lesson 2 we learned the following information about dotted notes:
“When a dot is added to the right side of a note, it indicates that half of that note value is added to its length.” In that lesson, dots were added to half notes, creating notes that are equal to the length of a half note tied to a quarter note. When the quarter note is equal to one beat, the dotted half note is equal to three beats.

In this lesson we will learn how to play dotted quarter notes. Following the same principal that was introduced in Lesson 2, we can determine that a dotted quarter note is equal to the length of a quarter note tied to half of its value, which is an eighth note, as shown below:

The dotted quarter note is equal to a quarter note tied to an eighth note.

Since there are two eighth notes in a quarter note we can subdivide the rhythm further tying together three eighth notes:

A dotted quarter note is also equal to three eighth notes tied together.

When counting rhythms that involve dotted quarter notes, always subdivide the beat and count every “and” to make sure that you play each note value the correct length. To keep a steady beat, use a metronome!

The example below demonstrates how to subdivide the beat to count dotted quarter note rhythms accurately. Measures 2, 3, and 4 will all sound the same.

How to count dotted quarter notes in 4/4 time

Dotted quarter rests are not common in written music. A quarter rest with an eighth rest is the standard notation for one and half beats of rest, as shown below:

A quarter rest and an eighth rest

Practice SuggestionsLesson 5 Practice Suggestions

Practice PatternsLesson 5 Practice Patterns

Dotted quarter note practice patterns

Learn how to play pickup notes in Lesson 6.

To learn how to play dotted quarter notes with practice patterns and audio examples, get the book The Fundamentals of Rhythm, by Kyle Coughlin.

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The Book

Kyle Coughlin’s book, The Fundamentals of Rhythm, is a step-by-step method book with clear explanations of beat, tempo, meter, time signature, note values, and many other rhythmic concepts. It includes 22 lessons with more than 450 practice patterns to help you learn the fundamental aspects of rhythm. Audio recordings of the patterns (performed by RhythmBot) are available on this website. The book is available in both print and PDF editions, and can be used by any musical instrument. Learn more about the book here.


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