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A Basic Introduction to Rhythm
Part 7: Ties and Longer Note Values

Not all note and rest values are equal to one beat. Music would be pretty dull if that were the case. Notes can be shorter or longer than one beat. Let’s now look at durations that are longer than one beat.

One way to create longer notes is to use ties. A tie is a line that connects two or more notes that are the same pitch. The tie indicates that we hold the notes together and we do not re-articulate or restart the second note of the tie.

The Tie

Listen to the following example to hear how ties create longer notes in music.

A melody using ties

There are simpler ways to represent most tied notes, though. Here is a list of longer note values and how they relate to quarter notes.

The Half Note
The half note is equal to the length of two quarter notes tied together.


The Dotted Half Note
The dotted half note is equal to the length of three quarter notes tied together.


The Whole Note
The whole note is equal to the length of four quarter notes tied together.


Here is a version of the melody example above, but with half notes, dotted half notes, and whole notes instead of ties. These two melodies sound exactly the same.

A melody using longer note values instead of ties

The RhythmBot books will go into much greater detail on these note values and how to play them.

For a more complete list of note values and an explanation on how long they are held, go here.

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