Eighth note

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Figure 1. An eighth note with stem extending up, an eighth note with stem extending down, and an eighth rest.
Figure 2. Four eighth notes beamed together.
Whole noteHalf noteQuarter noteEighth noteSixteenth noteThirty-second note
Comparison of duple note values (whole note = 2×half note, etc.)
Drum pattern, quarter notes on bass and snare,
accompanied by ride patterns of various
duple lengths from whole note to 128th (all at quarter note=60)
Audio content iconaudio speaker icon1 audio speaker icon2 audio speaker icon4 audio speaker icon8
audio speaker icon16 audio speaker icon32 audio speaker icon64 audio speaker icon128

An eighth note (American) or a quaver (British) is a musical note played for one eighth the duration of a whole note (semibreve), hence the name. This amounts to twice the value of the sixteenth note (semiquaver). It is half the duration of a quarter note (crotchet), one quarter the duration of a half note (minim), one eighth the duration of a whole note (semibreve), one-sixteenth the duration of a double whole note (breve), and one thirty-second the duration of a longa. It is the equivalent of the fusa in mensural notation.[1]

Eighth notes are notated with an oval, filled-in note head and a straight note stem with one flag note flag (see Figure 1). The stem is placed to the right of the notehead and extends upwards if the notehead lies below the middle line of the staff, and to the left of the notehead extending downwards if the notehead lies on or above the middle line of the staff, in instrumental notation. In vocal music, a middle-line notehead extends upward instead of downward. A related symbol is the eighth rest (or quaver rest), which denotes a silence for the same duration.[2][3]

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
, 6
, 9
, and 12
are typically beamed three eighth notes at a time. A single eighth note is always stemmed with a flag, while two or more are usually beamed in groups[4] in instrumental music.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morehen, John; Rastall, Richard (2001). "Quaver". In Sadie, Stanley; Tyrrell, John (eds.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 9780195170672.
  2. ^ "Eighth Rest". On Music Dictionary. 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Quaver". Dictionary.com.
  4. ^ Gerou, Tom (1996). Essential Dictionary of Music Notation. Alfred. p. 211. ISBN 0-88284-730-9.