How To Read Half Notes, Learn to read and play half notes for guitar
The Professor
May 24 2013, 08:49 AM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
Reading and Writing Half Notes

One of the most commonly used rhythmic durations in modern music, and the one that is often the most fundamental when learning how to read rhythms, is the half note.

The half-note is exactly half the duration of 1 whole-note, and fills half of a bar of 4/4 time, or a whole bar of 2/4 time.

It can also be “subdivided” into many other smaller units of rhythms, such as 2 quarter-notes, 4 8th-notes or 2 8th-note triplets as in the example below.

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In order to get half notes into your playing and practice routine, try the following exercise the next time you work on scales or arpeggios in the practice room.

Pick an arpeggio, for example a Cmaj7 arpeggio, and 1 fingering for that arpeggio to work on.
Start by playing only half notes, so 1 note every 2 beats of the metronome, at a slow tempo, say 40 beats per minute.
When that is comfortable, increase the speed of the metronome.
To learn how the half note relates to other rhythms, you can then play 1 bar of whole notes and 1 bar of half notes, or 1 bar of half notes followed by 1 bar of quarter notes etc.
Finally, you can play 1 bar of whole notes, 1 bar of half notes, 1 bar of quarter notes, 1 bar of 8th notes and 1 bar of 8th-note triplets, rotating through these four rhythms as you practice scales in the practice room.

Do you have a question or comment about half notes, or the scale exercise above? If so share it in the comments section below.

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