Dotted Notes and Their Value



Dotted notes are notes with one or two small dot written after them. These are the notes of music written but differentiated by one or two dots at the right hand side of the notes. A dot that is placed after the note to indicate a change in the duration or length of the note. This means that the dots at the side of those notes help their value to increase.

Dotted notes help de-clutter the music score from the use of ties and make simple much easy to read. It is possible to use dots across bar lines as we have seen in some composition. However, in modern music notation, dotted notes are used only if their value does not extend over a bar line; otherwise tied notes are used. Because most writers today regard this usage of dots across bar lines as obsolete, and recommend using a tie across the bar line instead.

There are two major types of dotted notes, these are single dotted notes and double dotted notes. We also have Triple dotted note but usage of a triple-dotted note value is not common.

Single Dotted Notes

Single dotted note is a note with one small dot written after it. The dot increases the note in question by half (i.e. 1/2) of its original value. In a nut shell, when a dot is placed near a note, the length of the note is increase by half of itself. This shows that if a basic note lasts one beat, the dotted equivalent of it will lasts one and a half beats. Also if a basic note lasts two beat, the dotted equivalent of it will lasts three beats.

Semibreve has 4 beats which is equivalent to 4 crotchets. When a semibreve is dotted, it will has a value of 6 crotchets. The dot adds half the value of the note to the note (makes it half as long again). Since a semibreve is worth 4 crotchets, and half of 4 is 2, this is added to make 6 (4 beat + 2 beats). 

Minim has 2 beats which is equivalent to 2 crotchets. When a minim is dotted, it will has a value of 3 crotchets. The dot adds half the value of the note to the note (makes it half as long again). Since a semibreve is worth 2 crotchets, and half of 2 is 1, this is added to make 3 (2 beat + 1 beats).

Crotchets has 1 beats which is equivalent to 2 quavers. When a crotchet is dotted, it will has a value of 3 quavers. The dot adds half the value of the note to the note (makes it half as long again). Since a crotchet is worth 2 quaver, and half of 1 is 1/2, this is added to make 11/2 (1 beat + 1/2 beats).

 
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

Double dotted note is a note with two small dots written after it. The dots increase the note in question by one three quarter (i.e 3⁄4) of its original value. This is so because the second dot after a note takes half the value of the first dot. In a nut shell, when a dot is placed near a note, the length of the note is increase by three quarter of itself. The double-dotted note is used less frequently than the dotted note.

Semibreve has 4 beats which is equivalent to 4 crotchets. When a semibreve is double dotted, it will has a value of 7 crotchets. The first dot adds half the value of the note to the note and the second dot adds the half of the value of the first dot. Since a semibreve is worth 4 crotchets, and half of 4 is 2, and half of 2 is 1 this is added to make 7 (4 beat + 2 beats + 1 beat). 

Minim has 2 beats which is equivalent to 2 crotchets. When a Minim is double dotted, it will has a value of 3 crotchets and 1 quaver. The first dot adds half the value of the note to the note and the second dot adds the half of the value of the first dot. Since a minim is worth 2 crotchets, and half of 2 is 1, and half of 1 is 1/2 this is added to make 3 and1/2 (2 beat + 1 beats + 1/2 beat). 

Crotchet has 1 beats which is equivalent to 2 crotchets. When a crotchet is double dotted, it will has a value of a 1 crotchet, 1 quaver and 1 semi-quaver. The first dot adds half the value of the note to the note and the second dot adds the half of the value of the first dot. Since a crotchet is worth 1 crotchet, and half of 1 is 1/2, and half of 1/2 is 1/4 this is added to make 1 and 3/4(1 beat + 1/2 beats + 1/4 beat).
 


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. Same thing applies to notes on ledger lines. We should not be confused with the dots for staccato articulation, which are located above or below the note, with the dots on dotted notes, which are located to the right of the note.
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