Sixty-fourth note

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In music notation, a sixty-fourth note (American), or hemidemisemiquaver or semidemisemiquaver (British) is a note played for half the duration of a thirty-second note (or demisemiquaver), hence the name. It first occurs in the late 17th century and, apart from rare occurrences of hundred twenty-eighth notes (semihemidemisemiquavers) and two hundred fifty-sixth notes (demisemihemidemisemiquavers), it is the shortest value found in musical notation (Morehen 2001).


Sixty-fourth notes are notated with a filled-in oval note head and a straight note stem with four flags. The stem is drawn to the left of the note head going downward when the note is above or on the middle line of the staff. When the note head is below the middle line the stem is drawn to the right of the note head going upward. Multiple adjacent sixty-fourth notes may have the flags connected with a beam.

Numerous sixty-fourth notes beamed together

A similar, but rarely encountered symbol is the sixty-fourth rest (or hemidemisemiquaver rest, shown on the right of the image) which denotes silence for the same duration as a sixty-fourth note.

Notes shorter than a sixty-fourth note are very rarely used, though the hundred twenty-eighth note (otherwise known as the semihemidemisemiquaver (Haas 2011, 112)) and even shorter notes, are occasionally found.

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

Language note name rest name
Basque erdifusa
Catalan semifusa silenci de semifusa
Chinese 六十四分音符 (pinyin: liùshísìfēn yīnfú) 六十四分休止符 (pinyin: liùshísìfēn xiūzhǐfú)
Danish fireogtresindstyvendedelsnode fireogtresindstyvendedelspause
Dutch vierenzestigste noot vierenzestigste rust
French quadruple-croche seizième de soupir
German Vierundsechzigstelnote Vierundsechzigstelpause
Greek εξηκοστό τέταρτο παύση εξηκοστού τέταρτου
Italian semibiscroma pausa di semibiscroma
Korean 64분음표(六十四分音標 yuksipsabun eumpyo) 64분쉼표(六十四分-標 yuksipsabun swimpyo)
Norwegian sekstifiredelsnote
Polish sześćdziesięcioczwórka pauza sześćdziesięcioczwórkowa
Portuguese semifusa pausa de semifusa
Russian шестьдесят четвертая нота шестьдесят четвертая пауза
Serbian šezdesetčetvrtin(k)a / шездесетчетвртин(к)а šezdesetčetvrtinska pauza / шездесетчетвртинска пауза
Spanish semifusa silencio de semifusa

"Semifusa" derives from the mensural notation corresponding to the modern sixteenth note.


  • Morehen, John. 2001. "Hemidemisemiquaver". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Haas, David. 2011. "Shostakovich’s Second Piano Sonata: A Composition Recital in Three Styles". In The Cambridge Companion to Shostakovich, edited by Pauline Fairclough and David Fanning, 95–114. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. 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" (112).

Further reading[edit]

  • Taylor, Eric. The Associated Board Guide to Music Theory (Part 1) (England: The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (Publishing) Ltd, 1989) Chapter 3 (Continuing with Rhythm), pp. 15–20.