Grade 1:14 - Ties & Dotted Notes
Previous: Lesson 13 - Tonic Triads
The previous lessons taught the basics of music including; notes, harmony, rhythm and chords. These lessons are important for most musicians and can help all of us improve our musical knowledge.
This lesson however, is specifically relevant to writing music as score. This is an important part of music theory, especially if you aim to take the exams. It is also important if you want to have a balanced knowledge of music. However, many musicians don't use score, so don't feel bad if you don't have any interest in this one.
On to the lesson...
Two notes can be tied together to create a longer note, there are a number of reasons you may want to do this, a good example is if a note needs to carry on past a bar line.
To create a tie, draw the notes you need, and then join them together with this curved line above or beneath them. You would do this if you want the note to carry on and not be played twice. Tied notes are always the same pitch, if you were changing pitch, you’d need a new note anyway and wouldn’t need to tie.
Ties have the same value as all the tied notes added together, so a crochet (quarter note) tied to another crotchet (quarter note) has the same value as a minim (half note). You wouldn’t use a tie if you could use a longer note. It makes the music far more complicated to read, easier is always better.
In the above example, the dotted note is the same length as the tie, but the dotted note should be used instead of a tie if possible.
The tie goes from the head of the first note, to the head of the next note, on the outside of the stave, on the other side to the stems. If the notes are at the top of the stave with the stems pointing down, the tie would go above the stave.
Check at the end of this lesson for a guide on drawing music on the score!
A dot, placed after a note, makes the note longer by half its value.
So a dotted crochet (quarter note) equals a crotchet plus a quaver (8th note). Another way to look at it is that a dotted quarter note equals three 8th notes
A dotted minim (half note) is equal to a minim plus a crotchet (quarter note).
The value for the dot is different depending on the note which is dotted - the dot is worth half the value of the note being dotted.
The previous page shows that ties and dots can create the same outcome. There will be times when you would choose either option, so it’s important to learn both. For example, ties can carry across bar lines, you can never use a dotted note across the bar.
But, avoid using ties where possible. They are less clear and harder to read. If you can use a dot or a longer note, use them instead.
Below is a free guide to drawing music notes and score, this guide is a really good reference for you as you are learning. Feel free to download it and use it whenever you need!
Next: Lesson 15 - Rests
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