Music Symbols for Notes and Rests

    🎶 Just a little reference for note and rest symbols for music notation. Useful as a reference or a refresher if you're learning to read sheet music.

    You'll see the note or rest name, including the name in British English, and the musical symbol associated with that note or rest value.

    You might also like this reference to the treble, bass clef, and grand staff. Check out this Wikipedia article for a complete list of musical symbols.

    Music Note Symbols

    Name Symbol Value
    Whole Note (Semibreve) 2 half notes:  
    Half Note (minim) 2 quarter notes:  
    Quarter Note (crotchet) 2 8th notes:  
    8th Note (quaver) 2 16th notes:  
    16th Note (semiquaver) 2 32nd notes:  
    32nd Note (demisemiquaver) 2 64th notes:  
    64th Note (hemidemisemiquaver)

    As you can see, starting with the 8th note, we simply add extra flags to the symbol for further subdivisions. This could go on: 128th note (semihemidemisemiquaver), 256th note (demisemihemidemisemiquaver), 512th note (hemidemisemihemidemisemiquaver), 1024th note (semihemidemisemihemidemisemiquaver), but these extremely small subdivisions are very rarely used in practice.

    Bonus points if you can say semihemidemisemihemidemisemiquaver 10 times quickly! 😉🎉


    Note stems up or down?

    The general rule of thumb for notes with stems on music notation is to have the stems pointing up when the note is below the middle line on the staff and down when the note is on or above the middle line on the staff.

    When pointing up, the stem is on the right side of the notehead, and when pointing down the stem is on the left side of the notehead.


    Music Rest Symbols

    Rest Name Symbol Value
    Whole Rest 2 half rests:
    Half Rest 2 quarter rests:  
    Quarter Rest 2 8th rests:  
    8th Rest 2 16th rests:  
    16th Rest 2 32nd rests:  
    32nd Rest 2 64th rests:  
    64th Rest

    Just like with the 8th note, we start adding flags at the 8th rest and keep on adding new flags for further rest subdivisions.

    Circle of fifths with major and minor keys adgcfebDAEBGCF mini circle of fifths