As a beginner music student you should begin your study with the music note value table. The primary music note values include the quarter note, half note, dotted half note and the whole note.
Each note looks different and is worth a different number of beats or counts. Notice that the whole note has no stem. All other notes have stems.
Music Note Value Table
The music note value table above illustrates several important facts for you to learn. Use the 4 measures of music below. You will see the numbers of 3 over 4 at the very beginning of the line. This is the time signature. There are only 3 beats or counts in every measure on this line.
The first measure includes 3 quarter notes. The numbers below the quarter notes are the counts to speak while playing each quarter note.
The music note values in the second measure include 2 sets of EIGHTH NOTES. This measure ends with a QUARTER NOTE. Eighth notes receive one-half beat each.
Easy Beginner Piano With Letters on Notes – graded easy to moderate difficulty level
The last measure includes only a DOTTED HALF NOTE which gets the full count of 3 beats.
The best way to learn these music note values is to clap the rhythm first. Please take the time to study the pictures below. Notice 4 different musical note symbols.
Music Symbols and Notes
Being able to recognize the music symbols and notes and their study is very much like learning a foreign language. Each note looks different and has a different time value, just as each word has a different meaning in another language.
It is interesting to know that the evolution of musical notes and symbols spans about 4000 years across many cultures known and unknown on planet earth. Because the first musical notation book came out a monastery in Italy, a lot of musical symbols are written in the Italian language to this day.
A quarter note (American) or crotchet (British) are the same musical symbol. It is performed by playing for the duration of one quarter of a whole note (or semibreve). Quarter notes (as seen in the 2 images immediately below) are created with a filled-in oval note head and a stem. The direction of the stem points upward if the note head is on or below the middle line. On the other hand the stem points downwards if the note head is on or above the middle line.
The quarter note has a music note value of ONE beat or count. To correctly perform a quarter note on the piano you would speak the word “one” and hold the quarter note only for the duration of that word and then release the note. Each type of music note symbol is held for a different duration or time value.
A half note (American) or minim (British) receives two beats or half of the duration of a whole note as well as two times the value of a quarter note. The half note is two beats long a long as the bottom number of the time signature is a 4, such as in 3/4 or 4/4 time.
The whole note music note symbol is hollow with no stem and has a music note value of FOUR Beats or Counts.