Sixteenth note


Sixteenth note
Figure 1. A sixteenth note with stem facing up, a sixteenth note with stem facing down, and a sixteenth rest.
Figure 2. Four sixteenth notes beamed together.

In music, a sixteenth note (American) or semiquaver (also occasionally demiquaver) is a note played for one sixteenth the duration of a whole note, hence the name. The semiquaver is half of a quaver which is an eighth note.

Sixteenth notes are notated with an oval, filled-in note head and a straight note stem with two flags. (see Figure 1). A similar symbol is the sixteenth rest (or semiquaver rest), which denotes a silence for the same duration. As with all notes with stems, sixteenth notes are drawn with stems to the right of the notehead, facing up, when they are below the middle line of the musical staff. When they are on or above the middle line, they are drawn with stems on the left of the note head, facing down. Flags are always on the right side of the stem, and curve to the right. On stems facing up, the flags start at the top and curve down; for downward facing stems, the flags start at the bottom of the stem and curve up. When multiple sixteenth notes or eighth notes (or thirty-second notes, etc.) are next to each other, the flags may be connected with a beam, like the notes in Figure 2. Note the similarities in notating sixteenth notes and eighth notes. Similar rules apply to smaller divisions such as thirty-second notes (demisemiquavers) and sixty-fourth notes (hemidemisemiquavers).

In Unicode, U+266C (♬) is a pair of beamed semiquavers.

The note derives from the semifusa in mensural notation. However, semifusa also designates the modern sixty-fourth note in Spanish.

The name of this note (and rest) in European languages varies greatly:

Language note name rest name
Dutch zestiende noot zestiende rust
German Sechzehntelnote Sechzehntelpause
French double-croche quart de soupir
Italian semicroma pausa di semicroma
Spanish semicorchea silencio de semicorchea
Portuguese semicolcheia pausa de semicolcheia
Russian шестнадцатая нота шестнадцатая пауза
Greek δέκατο έκτο παύση δεκάτου έκτου

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sixteenth note — Sixteenth Six teenth , a. [From {Sixteen}: cf. AS. sixte[ o]?a.] 1. Sixth after the tenth; next in order after the fifteenth. [1913 Webster] 2. Constituting or being one of sixteen equal parts into which anything is divided. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sixteenth note — n. Music a note having one sixteenth the duration of a whole note: see NOTE …   English World dictionary

  • sixteenth note — sixteenth .note n AmE a musical note which continues for a sixteenth of the length of a ↑whole note British Equivalent: semiquaver …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sixteenth note — sixteenth ,note noun count AMERICAN a musical note that continues for the length of one sixteenth of a WHOLE NOTE …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sixteenth note — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms sixteenth note : singular sixteenth note plural sixteenth notes music American a semiquaver …   English dictionary

  • sixteenth note — Semiquaver Sem i*qua ver (s[e^]m [i^]*kw[=a] v[ e]r), n. (Mus.) A note of half the duration of the quaver; now usually called a {sixteenth note}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sixteenth note — noun a musical note having the time value of a sixteenth of a whole note • Syn: ↑semiquaver • Hypernyms: ↑note, ↑musical note, ↑tone …   Useful english dictionary

  • sixteenth note — Music. a note having one sixteenth of the time value of a whole note; semiquaver. See illus. under note. [1860 65] * * * …   Universalium

  • sixteenth note — six′teenth′ note n. mad a musical note having one sixteenth the time value of a whole note • Etymology: 1860–65 …   From formal English to slang

  • sixteenth note — noun (C) AmE a musical note which continues for a sixteenth of the length of a whole note; semiquaver BrE …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English


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