1.217 note value

ES: valor, duración, I: valore, durata, F: durée, valeur (d’une note), D: Notenwert, NL: nootwaarde, DK nodeværdi, S: notvärde, FI: nuotin aika-arvo.

Note values (durations) are measured as fractions—in modern usage, one-half—of the next higher note value. The longest duration in current use is the breve (equal to two whole notes), but sometimes (especially in music dating from the Baroque era or earlier) the longa (four whole notes) or maxima (eight whole notes) may be found.

As used in mensural notation, this fraction was more flexible: it could also be one-third the higher note value. Composers indicated which proportions to use with various signs—two of which survive to the present day: the C-shaped sign for common time, and the slashed C for alla breve or cut time.

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An augmentation dot after a note increases its duration by half; a second dot increases it by half of the first addition (that is, by a fourth of the original duration). More dots can be used to add further halved fractions of the original note value (1/8, 1/16, etc.), but they are not frequently encountered.

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Alternatively note values may be subdivided by other ratios. Most common is subdivision by 3 (triplets) and 5 (quintuplets). Subdivisions by 2 (duplets) or 4 (quadruplets) of dotted notes are also frequently used.

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See also

common time.


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