dotted note

A dotted quarter note and a double-dotted half note.
A dotted quarter note and a double-dotted half note. If a dotted note falls on a staff line, its rhythm dot is placed in the staff space directly above it. Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition of Dotted Notes:

A dotted note is a music note* of any length with a small dot after its note-head (as opposed to above or below it; see staccato). This mark – known as a rhythm dot – adds half of the note’s value to its length:

  • A dotted half note = 1 half note + a quarter note, or 3 beats.
  • A dotted quarter note = 1 quarter note + an eighth note: 1 1/2 beats (or three eighth-note beats).
  • A dotted eighth note = 1 eighth note + a sixteenth note: 3/4 beat (or three sixteenth notes).


    Music rests may also be dotted.


    Double-Dotted Notes

    Two rhythm dots lengthen a note by 3/4 its original value. When counting a double dotted note, it’s helpful to break its length into 1 + 1/2 + 1/4:

    • Double dotted quarter note
      (1 quarter note + 1 eighth note + 1 sixteenth note) = 3 1/2 eighth notes
    • Eighth note with a double dot
      (1 eighth note + 1 sixteenth note + 1 32nd note) = 3 1/2 sixteenth notes


    Triple-dotted notes are less common, but do occur in piano music. A good example is Chopin’s Prelude Opus 28, No. 3, which contains single, double, and triple rhythm dots.

    ► Learn Music Note Lengths & Values

    ► More About Dotted Notes and Rests


    Also Known As:

    • nota punteggiata (It)
    • note pointée (Fr)
    • punktierte Note (Ger)

    Musical Symbols:

    Staff & Barlines
    The Grand Staff
    Key Signatures
    Time Signatures

    Note Lengths
    Dotted Notes
    Music Rests
    Tempo Commands

    Dynamics & Volume
    8va & Octave Commands

    Repeat Signs
    Segno & Coda Signs
    Pedal Marks
    Piano Chords

    ■ Trills
    ■ Tremolos


    Beginner Piano Lessons
     ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
     ▪  The Point Of Double-Sharps
     ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
     ▪  Essential Piano Fingering
     ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords

    Getting Started on Keyboards
     ▪  Finding the Right Piano Teacher
     ▪  Sitting Correctly at the Keys
     ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
     ▪  How to Buy a Used Piano
     ▪  Musical Keyboard Comparison Guide

    Piano Chords
     ▪  Chord Types & Symbols in Sheet Music
     ▪  Root Notes & Chord Inversion
     ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
     ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
     ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords

    Piano Care
     ▪  Everyday Piano Care
     ▪  Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
     ▪  When to Tune a Piano
     ▪  Easy-to-Spot Signs of Piano Damage
     ▪  Piano Room Temps & Humidity Levels

    Piano Recitals & Performing
     ▪  What to Eat & Drink Before a Performance
     ▪  Concert Etiquette for the Audience
     ▪  Warming Up for a Piano Performance
     ▪  Minimizing Stage Fright
     ▪  Overcoming Mistakes On Stage

    ♫ Musical Quizzes!
     ● Identify the Piano Keys
     ● Key Signature Quiz
     ● Note Length & Rest Quiz (U.S. or U.K. English)
     ● Grand Staff Notes Quiz
     ● Tempo Command & BPM Quiz
     ● Time Signature & Rhythm Quiz
     ● Volume Commands & Dynamics Symbols

    Reading Piano Music
    • Note-Lengths in U.K. & U.S. English
    • Notes of the Piano Keys
    • Memorize the Grand Staff Notes
    • Reading Music Rests

    Piano Chords
    • Easy Bass Piano Chords
    • Chord Types & Symbols
    • Piano Chord Fingering
    • Diminished Chords & Dissonance

    Reading Musical Symbols
    • Note Accents & Articulation Marks
    • How to Play Dotted Notes
    • Accidentals & Double-Accidentals
    • Reading Segno & Coda Repeats

    Beginner Piano Lessons
    • Comparing Major & Minor
    • Understanding the Key Signature
    • Types of Barlines
    • BPM & Tempo Commands
    • Left Hand Piano Fingering


    Helpful Info For Owning a Piano
    How to Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
    Learn ivory-safe methods for brightening up your acoustic piano keys, and find out what you can do to prevent keyboard yellowing.

    When to Tune a Piano
    Find out when (and how frequently) you should schedule a professional piano tuning to keep your piano healthy and on-pitch.

    Easy-to-Spot Signs of Piano Damage
    Before you buy or sell an acoustic piano, learn how to assess it for both internal and external damage.

    Ideal Piano Temp & Humidity Levels
    Learn how to maintain sound quality and piano health by monitoring the temperature, humidity, and natural light in your piano room.


    Illustrated Piano Chords:
    AbmajAbma7Abma9  |  AbminAbm7Abm9  |  AbdimAb°7  |  AbaugAb+7  |  Absus2Absus4