The Different Types Of Rests In Music

In music, we often will have moments of silence where we want to tell a musician not to play. 

For this we use symbols called rests

All the different types of musical notes like minims and crotchets, have a corresponding rest which we’ll take a look at now.

The Types Of Rests

Semibreve Rest

A semibreve rest is a small rectangle that hangs off the 2nd line from the top of the stave. 

It has a value of four beats.

Minim Rest

The minim rest is very similar to the semibreve rest but it sits on the middle line of the stave. 

It has a value of two beats.

Side note: To remember the difference between a semibreve and minim rest I tend to think of the semibreve rest being bigger (it lasts longer) than a minim and so because it’s “heavier” it hangs off the stave.

Crotchet Rest

The crotchet rest is quite complicated to draw.

It kind of looks like a skewed letter Z with a small letter C on the bottom. 

It has a value of one beat.

Quaver Rest

The quaver rest looks like a small number seven with a little blob on the end.

It sits in the middle of the stave and isn’t too big. 

It has a value of ½ of a beat.

Semiquaver Rest

A semiquaver rest is very similar to the quaver rest but slightly taller and has two flicks. 

It has a value of ¼ of a beat.

Dotted Rests

Just as you can have dotted notes you can also have dotted rests.

This works exactly the same and adds on half of the rest’s value.

The dot always sits in the second space from the top.

For example:

However, whilst you can have dotted rests you can’t tie rests together.

Instead, you should use another rest.

What rest do you use for a whole bar of silence?

The last thing to mention about rests is to do with having a whole bar of silence. 

Whenever you want an entire bar to be silent you always use a semibreve rest.

This is the case even if the time signature is 2/4 or 3/4.

See the examples below:

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