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A quarter note (American) or crotchet (British) is a note played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note (or semibreve). Quarter notes are notated with a filled-in oval note head and a straight, flagless stem. The stem usually points upwards if it is below the middle line of the stave or downwards if it is on or above the middle line. However, this may be changed if there is more than one part to differentiate between the parts. The head of the note also reverses its orientation in relation to the stem.[citation needed] (See image.)

In Unicode, the symbol is U+2669 ().

A quarter note with stem facing up, a quarter note with stem facing down, and a quarter rest.

A related symbol is the quarter rest (or crotchet rest). It denotes a silence of the same duration as a quarter note. The sign 𝄽 is commonly used for it. It appears either as the form Crotchet rest plain-svg.svg or as the form Crotchet rest alt plain-svg.svg.

The note derives from the semiminima of mensural notation. The word crotchet comes from Old French crochet, meaning 'little hook', diminutive of croc, 'hook', because of the hook used on the note in black notation. However, because the hook appeared on the eighth note (or quaver) in the later white notation, the modern French term croche refers to an eighth note.[citation needed]

The term quarter note is a calque (loan translation) of the German term Viertelnote. The names of this note (and rest) in most European languages are calqued from the same source:

Language note name rest name
Czech čtvrťová nota čtvrťová pauza
Dutch kwartnoot kwartrust
French noire soupir
German Viertelnote Viertelpause
Greek Tetarto (τέταρτο) Pafsi tetartou (παύση τετάρτου)
Italian semiminima pausa di semiminima
Polish ćwierćnuta pauza ćwierćnutowa
Portuguese semínima pausa de semínima
Spanish negra silencio de negra
Swedish fjärdedelsnot fjärdedelspaus
Finnish Neljäsosanuotti Neljäsosatauko

The French and Spanish names for the note (both meaning "black") derive from the fact that the semiminima was the longest note to be colored in mensural white notation, which is true as well of the modern form.

The Greek names mean "quarter" (for the note) and "quarter's pause" (for the rest). In Greek, all music rests are called "pauses."

See also


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Simple English

File:Quarter notes and
A quarter note with stem facing up, a quarter note with stem facing down, and a quarter rest.

A crotchet or quarter note is a note played for one fourth of a whole note (or semibreve). Quarter notes are written as a filled-in oval (or round) note head and a straight, flagless stem (the line). The stem usually points up (like a d) if it is below the middle line of the stave or down (like a p) if it is on or above the middle line.

When beginners start to learn to play an instrument they are often taught that one crotchet lasts for one beat (one count). That is because they are learning pieces with simple time signatures. It is, however, important to remember that other note lengths (minims, dotted crotchets etc) can also be treated as one beat, depending on the time signature.








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