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Rest Shapes

Posted by Robert Thomas on 2nd March 2010

Rests are symbols for silence. There are five basic shapes: the double whole rest, the whole rest, the half rest, the quarter rest, and the eighth rest. For values less than an eighth rest, simply add additional hooks.


19th Post Rest Shapes Image

From L to R: Dbl. Whole Rest, Whole Rest, 1/2 Rest, 1/4 Rest, 1/8 Rest, 1/16 Rest, 1/32 Rest

When possible, most rests should appear in or be positioned in relation to the third space from the bottom, although their position should be altered if normal placement would conflict with a beam or interfere with two voices sharing a staff. The double whole rest fills the third space of a staff (counting from the bottom). The whole rest is placed below the fourth line of the staff and is on-half space thick. The half rest is placed on top of the third line of the staff and is the same thickness as a whole rest. Both the quarter rest and the eighth rest are centered on the staff (the quarter rest begins in the top space and ends in the bottom space; the top hook of the eighth rest appears entirely within the third space, and the bottom of the figure touches the second line). The top of the sixteenth rest is placed as the eighth rest; the top hook is in the third space, another hook is added in the second space, and the bottom is extended down to touch the bottom staff line. The thirty-second rest is again centered on the staff (the top arm is in the fourth space, the second arm in the third space, and the third arm in the second space, with the bottom touching the staff line) and subsequently smaller rests follow the same pattern. All hooks fall within spaces.

How to draw quarter, eighth, and sixteenth rests:


19th Post Quarter Rest Image

Quarter Rest


19th Post Eighth Rest Image

Eighth Rest


19th Post Sixteenth Rest Image

Sixteenth Rest

For all smaller rests, simply add more flags (stroke 2) and extend the downward length of stroke 1.

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