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Reading rhythm, part 4: dotted notes

(Note: this article contains musical symbols that might not display on mobile devices. I recommend reading it on a desktop/laptop if so.)

In the last post, we establied that:

  • a dot after a note multiplies its length by 112

That gives us this chart (click the image to download the PDF):

Here’s the trick: memorize the first and last columns.

It’s much quicker to think:

𝅗𝅥 . = 3 beats

than it is to think:

𝅗𝅥 . = 𝅗𝅥 × 112 = 2 beats × 112 = 3 beats

There are other dotted notes, but the above 3 are by far the most common. We had an example of a dotted 12-note in the last tutorial, and will cover some dotted 14-notes in the next. Dotted 18-notes mostly occur in dotted rhythms, which we’ll cover in a later tutorial.

Important: don’t confuse dotted notes, where the dot comes after the note, with staccato notes, where the dot goes above or below the note.