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 note Half note Quarter note Eighth note Sixteenth note Thirty-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 two symbols are inherited from the early 1980s code page 437, where they occupied codes 13 and 14 respectively. Additions to the Unicode standard also incorporated additional eighth note depictions from Japanese emoji sets: ascending eighth notes (U+1F39C, 🎜), descending eighth notes (U+1F39D, 🎝), a graphical generic musical note generally depicted as an eighth note (U+1F3B5, 🎵), and three unconnected eighth notes in sequence (U+1F3B6, 🎶). Unicode's Musical Symbols block includes several variations of the eighth note; these are the versions intended to be used in computerized musical notation (as opposed to the others, which are graphical dingbats).

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

Etymology[edit]

The word 'quaver' comes from the now archaic use of the verb to quaver meaning to sing in trills (Harper 2010).

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

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

Language note name rest name
Catalan corxera silenci de corxera
Chinese 八分音符 (bāfēn yīnfú) 八分休止符 (bāfēn xiūzhǐfú)
Czech osminka osminová pomlka
Danish ottendedelsnode ottendedelspause
Dutch achtste noot achtste rust
Estonian kaheksandiknoot kaheksandikpaus
Finnish kahdeksasosanuotti kahdeksasosatauko
French croche demi-soupir
German Achtelnote Achtelpause
Greek όγδοο (ógdoo) παύση ογδόου (páfsi ogdóou)
Italian croma pausa di croma
Japanese 8分音符 (hachibun onpu) 8分休符 (hachibun kyūfu)
Korean 8분음표 (palbun eumpyo) 8분쉼표 (palbun swimpyo)
Persian چنگ سکوت چنگ
Polish ósemka pauza ósemkowa
Portuguese colcheia pausa de colcheia
Russian восьмая нота (vosmaya nota) восьмая пауза (vosmaya pauza)
Serbian осмин(к)а / osmin(k)a осминска пауза / osminska pauza
Spanish corchea silencio de corchea
Swedish åttondelsnot åttondelspaus
Thai โน๊ตเขบ็ตหนึ่งชั้น ตัวหยุดตัวเขบ็ตหนึ่งชั้น
Turkish sekizlik nota sekizlik es

The French name, croche is from the same source as crotchet, the British name for the quarter note. The name derives from croccata ("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]

References[edit]

  • Harper, Douglas. 2010. "Quaver" Dictionary.com.
  • Morehen, John, and Richard Rastall. 2001. "Quaver". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.