Hundred twenty-eighth note

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Beethoven used hundred twenty-eighth notes in the first movement of his Pathétique Sonata (Op. 13)
A hundred twenty-eighth note with stem facing up, a hundred twenty-eighth note with stem facing down, and a hundred twenty-eighth rest.
Hundred twenty-eighth notes beamed together.

In music, a hundred twenty-eighth note or semihemidemisemiquaver[1] or quasihemidemisemiquaver[2] is a note played for 1128 of the duration of a whole note. It lasts half as long as a sixty-fourth note. It has a total of five 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 the first movement of Beethoven's Pathétique Piano Sonata (Op. 13), to notate rapid scales. Another example is in Mozart's Variations on Je suis lindor, where many of them are used in the slow twelfth variation.[3][4]

These five-beamed notes also appear occasionally where a passage is to be performed rapidly, but where the actual tempo is at the discretion of the performer rather than being a strict division of the beat. In such cases, the aggregate time of the notes may not add up exactly to a full measure, and the phrase may be marked with an odd time division to indicate this. Sometimes such notation is made using smaller notes, sized like grace notes. One rare instance where such five-beamed notes occur as acciacaturas occurs in the final measures of No. 2 of Charles-Valentin Alkan's Trois grandes études, Op. 76.

Hundred twenty-eighth rests are also rare, but again not unknown. One is used in Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 13 "Quasi una fantasia" (bar 24 in the slow movement).


  1. ^ Haas, David (2011). "Shostakovich's Second Piano Sonata: A Composition Recital in Three Styles". In Fairclough, Pauline; Fanning, David. The Cambridge Companion to Shostakovich. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-139-00195-3. doi:10.1017/CCOL9780521842204.006. The listener is right to suspect a Baroque reference when a double-dotted rhythmic gesture and semihemidemisemiquaver triplets appear to ornament the theme. )[full citation needed]
  2. ^ Miller, RJ (2015). Contemporary Orchestration: A Practical Guide to Instruments, Ensembles, and Musicians. Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-415-74190-3. 
  3. ^ Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. 12 Variations on 'Je suis lindor', K.354. p. 10, fourth system, last bar. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts Werke, Serie 21. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1877-1910. Plate W.A.M. 354. [1]
  4. ^