Eighth note

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Figure 1. An eighth note with stem facing up, an eighth note with stem facing down, and an eighth rest.
Figure 2. Four eighth notes beamed together.
Whole noteHalf noteQuarter noteEighth noteSixteenth noteThirty-second note
Comparison of duple note values (whole note = 2×half note, etc.).

An eighth note (American) or a quaver (British) is a musical note played for half the value of a quarter note (crotchet) and twice that of the sixteenth note (semiquaver), which amounts to one quarter the duration of a half note (minim), one eighth the duration of whole note (semibreve), one sixteenth the duration of a double whole note (breve), and one thirty-second the duration of a longa, hence the name. It is the equivalent of the fusa in mensural notation (Morehen and Rastell 2001)

Eighth notes are notated with an oval, filled-in note head and a straight note stem with one flag note flag (see Figure 1). A related symbol is the eighth rest (or quaver rest), which denotes a silence for the same duration.

In unicode, the symbols U+266A () and U+266B () are an eighth note and beamed pair of eighth notes respectively. The former is inherited from the early 1980s code page 437, where it has code 13.

As with all notes with stems, the general rule is that eighth notes are drawn with stems to the right of the notehead, facing up, when they are below the middle line of the musical staff. When they are on or above the middle line, they are drawn with stems on the left of the note head, facing down. Alternatively, stems are used to indicate voicing or parts; all stems for the upper voice's notes (or "parts") are drawn facing up, regardless of their position on the staff. Similarly, stems for the next lower part's notes are down facing down. This makes the voices/parts clear to the player and singer.[citation needed]

Flags are always on the right side of the stem, and curve to the right. On stems facing up, the flag starts at the top and curves down; for downward facing stems, the flags start at the bottom of the stem and curve up. When multiple eighth notes or 16th notes (or 32nd notes, etc.) are next to each other, the stems may be connected with a beam rather than a flag, as shown in Figure 2. Its rhythm syllable is 'ti'.'[citation needed]

Eighth notes in 3/8, 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 are beamed three eighth notes at a time.


The word 'quaver' comes from the now archaic use of the verb to quaver meaning to sing in trills.[citation needed]

The note derives from the fusa of mensural notation; however, fusa is the modern Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese name for the 32nd note.

The names of this note (and rest) in many languages vary greatly:

Languagenote namerest name
Catalancorxerasilenci de corxera
Czechosminkaosminová pomlka
Dutchachtste nootachtste rust
Greekόγδοοπαύση ογδόου
Italiancromapausa di croma
Polishósemkapauza ósemkowa
Portuguesecolcheiapausa de colcheia
Russianвосьмая нотавосьмая пауза
Serbianосмин(к)а/osmin(k)aосминска пауза/osminska pauza
Spanishcorcheasilencio de corchea
Turkishsekizlik notasekizlik es

The French name, croche is from the same source as crotchet, the British name for the quarter note. The name derives from crochata ("hooked"), to apply to the flags of the semiminima (in white notation) and fusa (in black notation) in mensural notation; thus the name came to be used for different notes.

See also[edit]