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Lesson 8 Part 7 : Now we move into reading music and we start with Rest Notes

Reading sheet music is a joy. You will get the hang of it quickly. And music will spring from the paper and into your guitar. It just takes some practice.

In this part of the tutorial we learn the basics of reading music.



Lets take a look at the rest notes

When a musician plays a piece of music is it continuous music? Are there short or long rests where no note is played? There sure is! And the sheet music has a way to show you, the musician, where to take these rests and how long to take them. This is done with the rest notes.

Rest notes are just as important as played notes. And you have to understand how to read them. But they are easy - after all they mean you don't have to play anything; you just rest. And music is not just notes. The spaces between the notes are equally as important.

The whole rest note is shown here.


This measure shows a rest. You would not play any notes for the duration of this measure. The rest is the little rectangular object hanging from one of the lines. This shows a whole note rest. It is the same duration as a whole note.

Every note duration has an equivalent rest duration. Here are the more common rests:

Lets look at these measures from left to right

The first measure shows a whole note rest so you rest for the whole four beats of the measure

The second measure shows a half note being played (thats two beats, or half the measure) then a rest for the other two beats of the measure. No note is played for the final two beats (half note measure rests on top of the line)

The third measure shows three quarter notes and one quarter note rest. So you would play the three quarter notes, each getting a beat then you would rest for one beat

The fourth measure shows eighth notes. And these notes are pretty quick so each one would only last a half of a beat. In this measure you would play seven eighth notes then rest for the last half beat.

Of course rests don't always occur at the end of the measure. They could be anywhere and for any duration. Here is an example:

rest notes

Various rests shown here


In this example the first measure starts out with a note played then you rest a quarter and then rest a half.

Then in the second measure you play a quarter note, play a second quarter note, rest for a quarter note then play another quarter note.

Now continue on to the dotted notes


Tempi Metronome

  • ? TEMPI MECHANICAL METRONOME establishes accurate musical timing, helps play at a proper pace, provides a firm sense of rhythm, develops finger agility and preciseness, shows a visual sense of timing from the pendulum and can be used by a music lover, beginner or musician of ANY age or experience!


If you want to learn how to play traditional classical guitar there is one book that rises above all the others. It was written two hundred years ago and is still the standard for learning. It assumes you have no knowledge of playing guitar and no knowledge of how to read music. It takes you from there to competent playing. This is the book I learned on. It is a tried a true classic.

The Carcassi Method Classical Guitar Method (0762) A new edition, Classical Guitar Method offers an elementary approach to playing the guitar. It provides a table of relative value of notes, definitions and explanations about the rudimentary elements of guitar playing such as scales and tempo. This is one of the most famous guitar method books for students and teachers!