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Lesson 8 Continued The Dotted Notes

Dotted notes appear confusing at first but they are quite easy to learn and as you read more sheet music you will understand how they work and read them without even thinking about it.

Here is a set of notes with all quarter notes. It is pretty easy to understand. It is just a bunch of quarter notes. But wait! One of them has a dot on the side of it! How do we play this?



The dot simply means that you play the note for one half its duration longer. This piece of music is in 4/4 so every quarter note gets one beat. Tap your foot and follow along the measures from left to right. Each tap of your foot is one note. What happens when you get to the note with the dot in it? This note is one and a half beats in duration so you hold it through its beat and then for half of the next beat. Think of it as up and down with your foot . Every time your foot hits the ground you start a new note/beat. But with the dotted note your foot hits the ground then when your foot hits the ground again you don't start the next note, you wait until your foot is all the way up again. Which is about half of the beat.

Here is an mp3 of these twelve notes so you can understand what is happening with the dotted note. Follow along each note as it is played and feel what happens at the dotted note.

First dotted quarter note

The seventh note in the sequence of twelve notes is the dotted note and it lasts pretty long. Then the eighth note in the sequence is only and eighth in duration so it doesn't last long. But in the third measure we return to our steady 1 beat per note.

In effect what we have here is that the dotted note is the duration of a quarter and an eighth. But you can't write this down on the scale because you would pluck the quarter then pluck it again for the eighth. You only want to pluck it once and hold it for the duration of a quarter and an eighth put together.

Let's do another one that is more complex.

Here is an mp3 of these notes. I tap on the guitar for eight beats before I play the notes so you can get a sense of the rhythm. Try to play these notes and feel the rhythm. Each quarter is dotted so it is one and a half beats long.

if you are having trouble with this think of it in other terms. Think of each measure as having eight beats and tap your foot eight times for the measure. This means that the dotted note gets three beats and the un-dotted note gets 1 beat.

Lets continue on with how to read sheet music for classical guitar and actually play eight notes. I even have pictures showing you what your fingers do.