The Dotted Quarter Note 2 HB


Don’t Stop

If this page gets a little confusing, don’t worry. Go through the whole page and then continue on to the next. The following page has audio and video examples that may take care of any questions you may have. Then, come back and read this page again. If there are any questions at that point, feel free to email me ( and we’ll take it from there.

Let’s Read the Music

  • We will be in 4/4 time when discussing the dotted quarter note (Click here for a reminder about time signatures)
  • Each dotted quarter note gets 1 and a 1/2 counts
  • In the image below, the three 8th notes represent the length of 1 dotted quarter note:

1a2a3a4a with box around notes

When counting the dotted quarter note, all you need to do is think (or count) 3 eighth notes (or 1 quarter note and an 8th note). This will give you the correct length of the dotted quarter note.

1a2a3a4a with box

When you’ve completed counting the dotted quarter note, the next note will be on the upbeat. In this case, the & of 2.

1a2a3a4a with box around pick up note

This is what our measure looks like when we substitute the dotted quarter note for the 8ths notes:

dotted quarter eighth with boxes

Where did the extra “&” and the “2” go in the first 2 beats of the measure? They are contained within the dotted quarter note.

A Quick Review…Or, In Other Words

In order to be accurate with the dotted quarter, it’s helpful to review what’s inside the dotted quarter: three 8th notes. Thinking of the three 8th notes while playing a dotted quarter is called subdivision. When we subdivide, we avoid guessing and play with accuracy.

  • When we see this:

dotted quarter 8th and 2 quarters with border

  • We need to think this:

1a2a3a4a with box around pick up note