Today’s theory lesson will revolve around rest notation, and follows on from the previous lesson on Rhythm notation.
The art sf silence
So far we have explored the world of pitch and rhythm, but now it's time to dive into the world of silence. Just as we have symbols for rhythm and pitch, we must also have symbols for periods of silence, because sound is not always a constant in music. The system that has evolved along with pitch and rhythm is what we call rest notation, and is divided into the same fractions that rhythm is, so for a quarter note, we have a quarter rest, and for an eighth note, we have an eighth rest and so on.
So our system of rest notation is the same as rhythm notation except instead of a period of sound, it is replaced by a period of silence. This is not to say every instrument in the band or orchestra will all be playing the same rest, each instrument may, or may not be playing completely different parts of the whole musical piece.
Looking at the diagram below you will see that the names are the same for rests as they are for rhythm, they are simply appended with the word rest instead of note. The values of the rests are identical to the rhythm values also, so you only have to learn the symbols and note a whole new bunch of values, which I am sure you will be happy about 🙂 So take a look at the diagram below and memorize the symbols as much as you can before moving onto the addition examples further below.
Once again we have our addition example table, each note or rest in the Notes column must add up to one whole note in value because we are in 4/4 timing.
Now onto our rhythm example chart below which introduces rest notation into our regular rhythm chart. Before you try playing along with this chart, make sure you visualize the whole piece in your mind first, then listen to the audio example below the chart to hear what it's meant to sound like. This is a pretty hard chart for a beginner so don’t be disappointed if you can’t quite get it at first, I will be publishing some easier charts soon.
|Rhythm chart 1.a|
Learning rest notation can be pretty hard at first as the concept of using silence in the same way we use tones is not really common knowledge. Keep up the rest notation practice and you will be glad you persisted.
Cheers & enjoy!