"Duration scale (music)" redirects here. For other uses, see Duration series
In music duration is an amount of time or a particular time interval. It is the length of a note. A duration is a property of a note that becomes one of the bases of rhythm.
A tone may be sustained for varying lengths of time. For example, an event in the common sense has a duration greater than zero (but not very long), but in certain specialized senses (such as in the theory of relativity), a duration of zero. It is often cited as one of the fundamental aspects of music, encompassing rhythm, form, and even pitch.
Durations, and their beginnings and endings, may be described as long, short, or taking a specific amount of time. Often duration is described according to terms borrowed from descriptions of pitch. As such, the duration complement is the amount of different durations used, the duration scale is an ordering (scale) of those durations from shortest to longest, the duration range is the difference in length between the shortest and longest, and the duration hierarchy is an ordering of those durations based on frequency of use.
Durational patterns are the foreground details projected against a background metric structure, which includes meter, tempo, and all rhythmic aspects which produce temporal regularity or structure. Duration patterns may be divided into rhythmic units and rhythmic gestures (Winold, 1975, chap. 3). However, they may also be described using terms borrowed from the metrical feet of poetry: iamb (weak-strong), anapest (weak-weak-strong), trochee (strong-weak), dactyl (strong-weak-weak), and amphibrach (weak-strong-weak), which may overlap to explain ambiguity.
See also 
- ^ Winold, Allen (1975). "Rhythm in Twentieth-Century Music" (chapter 3), Aspects of Twentieth-Century Music. Delone and Wittlich (eds.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-049346-5.
- ^ Cooper and Meyer (1960). The Rhythmic Structure of Music, . University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-11522-4. Cited in Winold (1975, chapter three).