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

Also Known As:

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

Musical Symbols:

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

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