05 Rest Values

Rest: Don’t play anything

As well as the music telling us when to play and for how long we also need to know when to take a break and don’t play anything at all.  This combination of playing and not playing makes the music much more interesting by creating so many more possibilities.

A musical rest is therefor a notation which tells you how long not to play until the next note comes along.

Sometimes the rest is long and sometimes quite short.  Again the same goes as with the notes. We can cut up one measure into smaller pieces.

Whole and Half Rests

If you saw a whole note F you would play an F and hold it for four beats.  For a half note you would play and hold for two beats.

The whole and half rests work the same way.

Many people think that the notations for these two rests look like hats.


A common way of remembering the difference between the two hats and their values is to use this phrase:

  • If you rest for the entire measure (four beats) it is bigger and heavier and sinks below the line
  • If you rest for only half of the measure (two beats) keep you hat on because it is lighter and therefore rests above the line

Both of these rests have the bowl part of the hat in the third space of the clef as seen below. The same spot a C would be on a Treble Clef



Try to play the following while counting out loud.  Be sure to hold the notes for the right number of beats.



BELOW is a chart with the note values and their rest counterparts.