How to Read Music – Lesson 11 – Dots and Ties

Dot and ties are two different ways to add time value to any note. Let’s begin by explaining the tie.

The tie is used to add the time value of two notes together. A tie can be thought of as a plus sign (+).

If we have a quarter note tied to an eighth note, the time value of these notes will be added together. So the total time vale for a quarter note (1 beat) tied to an eighth note (half beat) will be 1 and 1/2 beats.

Ties are notated on the top of notes that have stems down, and below notes that have stems up.

Dots are another method of adding time value to a note.

A dot will add half of a notes value to any note it is attached to. Think of the dot as meaning “plus half”.

If we have a quarter note with a dot, it’s time value will be the value of a quarter note (1 beat) plus half. 1 beat plus half (1/2 beat) will equal 1 1/2 beats. So a dotted quarter equals 1 1/2 beats.

To recap remember ties are like plus signs, adding two note values together, and dots mean “plus half”, adding half of a notes value to any note it is attached to.

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    This entry was posted in Dots, How to Read Music, Rhythm, Ties. Bookmark the permalink.
    • thyagarajan

      it is good.

      • leonharrell


    • Frederick Ahne

      As a guitar player (and this question may sound stupid) where do you start playing based on the musical notation?

      Fred Ahne

    • Frederick Ahne


      Thanks. That’s exactly what I needed. Now maybe I can kiss those tabs goodbye.

      Best regards,