Lesson 3: Note Lengths - Crotchets, Minims and Quavers

Surprisingly (to all parties concerned), North Americans have a completely different vocabulary for note lengths than British, Australians and New Zealanders. So I have done 2 versions of this lesson - one with just North American language and an International version (this one) with both.

Different notes have different lengths.

Crotchets (or in American English, Quarter notes) - count 1 beat each

Minims (or half-notes) - count 2 beats each

Quavers (or eighth notes) - count 1/2 beat


Sometimes quavers are written with a tail

Sometimes the tails are joined with a single beam as below.

Count "one and two and three and four and" - each word should be on the half beat.

quaver quaver

If you are ever writing notes, notice that the stems go up on the right of the note but down on the left side.

(Remember "up-right" - like you are before those few glasses of red wine)

The quaver tail however, is always on the right whether the stem is up or down.

Have a go at some simple sight-reading

You may have noticed that when we sing music in the barbershop style, we don't always follow the timing written on the paper. However, you should KNOW the rules before you BREAK the rules!

Just for fun. This song is sung in a round - with each part eventually saying part of the phrase "Liverpool Street Station"