Up to this point, all of the notes and rests we have played in Time Lines have been equal to one beat. We will now learn how to play notes longer than one beat.
One way to create longer notes is to use a tie, as shown below. A tie is a curved line that connects two or more notes of the same pitch. The tie instructs us to hold the notes together without restarting the second note.
However, it is much more convenient to indicate longer notes by using different note values, like the half note, which looks similar to a quarter note but with an open oval shape for its notehead.
The half note is equal to two quarter notes tied together. Therefore, in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4, the half note will be equal to two beats.
The half rest is also equal to two quarter rests. It has a very different appearance from the quarter rest and is simply a small rectangle that sits on top of the middle staff line.
Unit 3 Practice Tools:
Exercises: Play exercises with half notes and half rests.
Patterns: Half note and half rest rhythm patterns in 3/4 and 4/4.
Melodies: Half note and half rest melodic phrases in 3/4 and 4/4.
The Unit 3 rhythm exercises include all combinations of half notes and rests with quarter notes and rests in 3/4 and 4/4. Practice each one carefully by clapping and counting and then performing them on your instrument.
These half note exercises and patterns reveal one of the pitfalls of clapping and counting rhythms: when you clap your hands, the sound stops almost immediately, but these notes should sound for two full beats. The best solution is to physically represent the length of each note by holding your hands together for the full duration of the note and bring them apart just before it is time to clap the next note. If the quarter note or half note is followed by a rest, pull your hands apart at the beginning of the next beat.