You’d think the finding a period in music can be just one basic answer. And also while the prize is simple, over there is much more than one answer! So depending on where you find the dot in your music, girlfriend will have actually a different answer. Let’s take a look in ~ what you might be seeing:

Staccato: if the period is over or listed below the note 


Dotted Note: if the period is alongside a note


Dotted Rest: if the dot is next to a rest


Double Dotted: if there is an ext than one period after a keep in mind or rest


Fermata: if the dot is under a fifty percent circle



If the dot is either over or listed below the note, then it is dubbed staccato. The is what we call, one articulation. What that means is simply, how friend play it. That doesn’t influence anything yet the method you play the note. For staccato, girlfriend play the note “short” or “quick”. You have to understand, though, that it does NOT change how fast or slow you play the note, simply that it sounds short.

You are watching: What does a dot after a note mean

The the opposite of staccato is legato. Legato means to play it smooth. It is less complicated to know staccato when you can understand legato. You desire to pat staccato the contrary of smooth.

When ns am introducing staccato to my students, I like to speak staccato like so, “stuh – caw – toe”. It helps to remember come play it prefer it sounds, short and choppy.


Staccato have the right to be presented being created either above the keep in mind or listed below the note. They space one and also the same definition regardless of the is on optimal or listed below the note. They write the dot above the keep in mind if the stem is pointing down. The dot is below the note when the stem is pointing up.

Dotted Notes and also Rests

There is a huge difference the occurs if the period is written next to a keep in mind versus on top or listed below a note. While staccato determines how you play the note, a dot beside a keep in mind determines how long girlfriend play the note. A dot determines the rhythm of a note.

What’s for this reason cool about the period after a note or a rest, is the it can be supplied on any type of note or rest. Friend can discover a period after any rest, or after any type of note. The most typical notes/rests the you find a period after are after a 4 minutes 1 note/rest, or a fifty percent note/rest.

The dot have the right to seem very confusing, however in truth it really isn’t. The just has one dominion to remember through it! So nothing forget it:

The dot is worth fifty percent of every little thing the note or remainder is. the as simple as that.

Let’s take a quarter note for example. A quarter keep in mind is precious 1 count. For this reason the dot after that is worth half of the keep in mind in former of it, and since that is 1, the dot is worth 1/2. Since the quarter note is worth 1 and also the period is precious 1/2, a dotted quarter note is precious 1 and 1/2 counts.


The same uses for all of the notes and rests. The dot is just half of whatever the note/rest in front of that is. Then add the note/rest with the period to uncover the full amount that is worth.



Double Dotted Notes and also Rests

Since you currently know the dominance for the dot, climate you can conveniently figure out any type of amount that dots you may find in your music. The same ascendancy applies:

The dot is worth half of everything the note or remainder or period that is in prior of it.

Check this out.


The quarter keep in mind is precious 1 count, the period after that is precious 1/2 of 1, and also the dot after the is precious 1/2 the 1/2, or 1/4. Add those together and in total, the is precious 1 and also 3/4 count.

The entirety rest is precious 4, the period after the entirety rest is worth 1/2 of 4, therefore 2. The period after the period is precious 1/2 of 2, so 1. Add 4+2+1 = 7 counts.

You can proceed to add as plenty of dots together you want. Back you really don’t see dual dots lot unless friend are obtaining into progressed music playing.


Lastly, you might be looking in ~ a period under a half circle. This is what mine students call a bird’s eye. They deserve to never seem come remember the word, fermata, but by golly they certain remember to call it a bird’s eye!

A fermata deserve to be found above a keep in mind or a rest.


It simply way to host out the keep in mind as lengthy as you want to. You, as the player or singer, have the right to hold the as lengthy as deems friend good.

Sometimes, I have actually students the don’t choose to host it at all. They just skim ideal over it. Ns wouldn’t suggest that, since it is the composer’s idea to hold it because that some form of size of time. However neither perform I imply holding that forever and ever. Sometimes it just depends top top the context and where friend can find it in the music.

No issue what kind of period you found in her music, girlfriend should have actually a clean idea of what to execute with that now!

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