Writing Rests – Quarter Rest

Writing Rests - Quarter Rest - UltimateMusicTheory.com

Welcome to the Ultimate Music Theory Blog Series on How to Write Rests.

  1. Writing Rests Blog Series #1 - How to Write a Breve Rest
  2. Writing Rests Blog Series #2 - How to Write a Whole Rest
  3. Writing Rests Blog Series #3 - How to Write a Half Rest

In the fourth blog in this Writing Rests Blog Series, we explore How to Write a Quarter Rest.

This Series explores how to write the rests properly by hand.  It is not about when we write particular rests.  If you have any concern, either as a Student or as a Teacher, about what rests should be used, Ultimate Music Theory has lots of ways to help:

  1. Teach Rhythm and Rests - This online course is perfect for giving you confidence as a Teacher.  You will discover how to easily determine the division of rhythm & rests.
  2. Complete Music Theory Course - This online course is a great "refresher" course for Teachers and is perfect for Senior Students who wish to prepare for entrance to any Post-Secondary School for Music.
  3. Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course - Want to take your Teaching to the next level of Excellence? This online course will do that.  Join the hundreds of UMTC Certified Teachers around the world who have expanded their Studios and their Teaching Confidence.

The Dolmetsch Online Music Dictionary says that a Quarter Rest is to rest one quarter the time value of a whole rest.

UMT Writing Rests - Quarter Rest - Where Do We Learn It

Writing Rests Blog #4 - Quarter Rest

Rests are an important part of music.  Rhythm uses notes and rests, sound and silence.

A Quarter Rest is also called:

  • a crotchet rest (in England)
  • a pausa di semiminima (in Italian)
  • a soupir (in French)
  • a Viertelpause (in German)
  • a pause de semiminima or a silencio de negra (in Spanish)

I am pretty certain that if we brought 10 Teachers into a Zoom Room and asked them to show how they teach their Students to draw a Quarter Rest, we'd have 10 different examples of how to draw a Quarter Rest.

As the Examiner for the Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course, I make a lot of Teachers re-do writing their Quarter Rests.  Why? Because "close enough" is not correct.  (If Fed-Ex delivered your parcel to your neighbor's house and said "close enough", would you accept that?)

When I look at a Quarter Rest, I want to see that the first "zig", that top line, is going through Staff Line #4.  Why? Because it needs to go into Rest Party Space #3!  This "Party Space #3" creates a visual representation of the placement of all the rests!

UMT Writing Rests Blog 4 - Computer versus by hand

The Norton Manual of Music Notation states that "Rests should be drawn to resemble those found in engraved music as closely as possible".

Engraved Music today is typically music that is written using a Computer Program.  It is actually quite difficult to write a Quarter Rest by hand so that it looks just like the Quarter Rest that is written using a program like Finale.

How to Write a Quarter Rest by Hand

Were you taught to draw the Quarter Rest starting at the bottom and drawing upwards?  Were you taught to draw the Quarter Rest starting at the top and drawing downwards?  Or were you ever actually taught how to draw the Quarter Rest?

UMT Writing Rests Blog 4 - How to Write a Quarter Rest

Writing Rests Blog Series 4 - Z plus C or Lightening Bolt?

Memory Joggers are a fantastic way for Teachers and Students to learn ways to remember the rules.

Were you taught to draw that Quarter Rest as a "Zee plus C" (or "Zed plus C") or were you taught the Lightening Bolt?

Being dyslexic, I struggled with both.  I question whether the top line of the Z starts to the left or to the right.  And which way is the open part of the letter C?

For me, the easiest way was this rhyme: Through line 4, to line 3, middle of space 2 and add a C.

In the Comments Section, I would love to hear how you teach this!

UMT - Quarter Rest Z plus C or Lightening Bolt

The Writing Rests Blog Series

This Blog Series will be focusing on how to write rests, and not on WHAT rest to write.  Each Blog also has a matching Worksheet (with a corresponding Answer Sheet).  To get these resources, join the Ultimate Music Theory Membership!

Thank you for reading!  I look forward to seeing you in the Writing Rests Blog Series #5 - The Eighth Rest Blog.

And, if you missed it, please remember to check out:

  • Writing Rests Blog #1 - Breve Rest
  • Writing Rests Blog #2 - Whole Rest
  • Writing Rests Blog #3 - Half Rest
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Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren

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One thought on “Writing Rests – Quarter Rest”

  • Lori Scott says:

    One fun way to explain drawing quarter rests to younger students:

    You explain that we start with drawing a bird’s beak:

    Say…. “Beak, Go Back, C how easy this is”.
    1. Draw a Birds Beak ( > )
    2. From the bottom of the beak, “Go Back”, draw your line back to the right (now resembles our z)
    3. Finish off with a C at the bottom with a successful “C how easy it is”!
    Repeat chant

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