Sixteenth note

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Figure 1. A sixteenth note with stem facing up, a sixteenth note with stem facing down, and a sixteenth rest.
Figure 2. Four sixteenth notes beamed together.
Whole note Half note Quarter note Eighth note Sixteenth note Thirty-second note
Comparison of duple note values (whole note = 2×half note, etc.).

In music, a sixteenth note (American) or semiquaver (British) is a note played for one sixteenth the duration of a whole note, hence the name. The semiquaver is half of a quaver which is an eighth note.

Sixteenth notes are notated with an oval, filled-in note head and a straight note stem with two flags. (see Figure 1). A similar symbol is the sixteenth rest (or semiquaver rest), which denotes a silence for the same duration. As with all notes with stems, sixteenth 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. Flags are always on the right side of the stem, and curve to the right. On stems facing up, the flags start at the top and curve down; for downward facing stems, the flags start at the bottom of the stem and curve up. When multiple sixteenth notes or eighth notes (or thirty-second notes, etc.) are next to each other, the flags may be connected with a beam, like the notes in Figure 2. Note the similarities in notating sixteenth notes and eighth notes. Similar rules apply to smaller divisions such as thirty-second notes (demisemiquavers) and sixty-fourth notes (hemidemisemiquavers).

In Unicode, U+266C (♬) is a pair of beamed semiquavers.

The note derives from the semifusa in mensural notation. However, semifusa also designates the modern sixty-fourth note in Spanish.

The name of this note (and rest) in European languages varies greatly:

Language note name rest name
Catalan semicorxera silenci de semicorxera
Chinese 十六分音符 十六分休止符
Dutch zestiende noot zestiende rust
German Sechzehntelnote Sechzehntelpause
Greek δέκατο έκτο παύση δεκάτου έκτου
Italian semicroma pausa di semicroma
Japanese 16分音符 16分休符
Korean 16분음표 16분쉼표
French double-croche quart de soupir
Portuguese semicolcheia pausa de semicolcheia
Romanian şaisprezecime pauză de şaisprezecime
Russian шестнадцатая нота шестнадцатая пауза
Serbian šesnaestin(k)a / песнаестин(к)а šesnaestinska pauza / шеснаестинска пауза
Spanish semicorchea silencio de semicorchea
Swedish sextondelsnot sextondelspausa
Thai โน๊ตตัวเขบ็ตสองชั้น ตัวหยุดตัวเขบ็ตสองชั้น

See also[edit]