Two hundred fifty-sixth note

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart used 128th and 256th notes in his Variations on Je suis Lindor, K. 354.
256th note
256th rest

In music, a two hundred fifty-sixth note is a note played for 1/256 of the duration of a whole note (hence the name). It lasts half as long as a hundred twenty-eighth note and takes up one quarter of the length of a sixty-fourth note. It has a total of six flags or beams.

Notes this short are very rare in printed music, but not unknown. They are principally used for brief, rapid sections in slow movements. For example, they occur in some editions of the second movement of Beethoven's third piano concerto (Op. 37), to notate rapid scales.[1] Another example is in Mozart's Variations on Je suis Lindor, where four of them are used in the slow twelfth variation.[2][3] A further example occurs in Jan Ladislav Dussek's fifth piano sonata, Op. 10 No. 2.[4] They also occur in Vivaldi's concerto, RV 444.[1]

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

Language note name rest name
Catalan semigarrapatea silenci de semigarrapatea
German Zweihundertsechsundfünfzigstelnote Zweihundertsechsundfünfzigstelpause
French sextuple-croche soixante-quatrième de soupir
Italian duecentocinquantasesto pausa di duecentocinquantasesto
Spanish semigarrapatea silencio de semigarrapatea
Polish dwieściepięćdziesiątkaszóstka pauza dwieściepięćdziesięcioszóstkowa

Even shorter notes[edit]

1024th notes in Heinrich's Toccata Grande Cromatica

The next note value shorter than the 256th note would be the 512th note, half as long as the 256th note, with seven flags or beams; after this would come the 1024th note (eight flags or beams), 2048th note (nine flags or beams), 4096th note (ten flags or beams), and so on indefinitely, with each note half the length of its predecessor. The shortest note value to have ever been used in a published work is the 1024th note (notated incorrectly as a 2048th note) in Anthony Philip Heinrich's Toccata Grande Cromatica from The Sylviad, Set 2, written around 1825; 256th and 512th notes also occur frequently in this piece.[1] For comparison, the shortest notated duration supported by any scorewriter program is the 4096th note.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Byrd, Donald (ongoing). "Extremes of Conventional Music Notation", Informatics.Indiana.edu.
  2. ^ Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Zwölf Variationen in Es über die Romanze "Je suis Lindor"', K.354. p. 46, fifth system, first bar. Neue Mozart-Ausgabe. [1]
  3. ^ http://www.mail-archive.com/lilypond-devel@gnu.org/msg14425.html
  4. ^ [2]; first bar of p.14 of the Breitkopf & Härtel edition [3]
  5. ^ Finale User Manual: Secondary Beam Break Selection dialog box