Eighth-note

"Quaver" redirects here. For the cheese-flavored snack food, see Quavers.


An eighth note (in the US and Canada) or a quaver (other English-speaking countries) is a musical note played for one eighth the duration of whole note (US and Canada. Semibreve, or half a breve, other English-speaking countries), hence the name.

Eighth notes are notated with an oval, filled-in note head and a straight note stem with one flag note flag (see Figure 1). A related symbol is the eighth rest (or quaver rest), which denotes a silence for the same duration.

In unicode, the symbols U+266A () and U+266B () are an eighth note and beamed pair of eighth notes respectively. The characters are inherited from the early 1980s code page 437, where they have codes 13 and 14 respectively.

As with all notes with stems, the general rule is that eighth 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. Alternatively, stems are used to indicate voicing or parts; all stems for the upper voice's notes (or "parts") are drawn facing up, regardless of their position on the staff. Similarly, stems for the next lower part's notes are down facing down. This makes the voices/parts clear to the player and singer.

Flags are always on the right side of the stem, and curve to the right. On stems facing up, the flag starts at the top and curves down; for downward facing stems, the flags start at the bottom of the stem and curve up. When multiple eighth notes or sixteenth notes (or thirty-second notes, etc.) are next to each other, the stems may be connected with a beam rather than a flag, as shown in Figure 2. Its rhythm syllable is 'ti'.'

Eighth notes in 3/8, 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 are beamed 3 eighth notes at a time.

Etymology

The word 'quaver' comes from the now archaic use of the verb to quaver meaning to sing in trills.

The note derives from the fusa of mensural notation; however, fusa is the modern Spanish and Portuguese name for the thirty-second note.

The names of this note (and rest) in many languages vary greatly:

Language note name rest name
Catalan corxera silenci de corxera
Chinese 八分音符 八分休止符
Czech osminka osminová pomlka
Dutch achtste noot achtste rust
Finnish Kahdeksasosanuotti Kahdeksasosatauko
French croche demi-soupir
German Achtelnote Achtelpause
Italian croma pausa di croma
Japanese 8分音符 8分休符
Polish ósemka pauza ósemkowa
Portuguese colcheia pausa de colcheia
Russian восьмая нота восьмая пауза
Serbian осмин(к)а/osmin(k)a осминска пауза/osminska pauza
Spanish corchea silencio de corchea
Thai โน๊ตเขบ็ตหนึ่งชั้น ตัวหยุดตัวเขบ็ตหนึ่งชั้น
Turkish sekizlik nota sekizlik es

The French name, croche is from the same source as crotchet, the British name for the quarter note. The name derives from crochata ("hooked"), to apply to the flags of the semiminima (in white notation) and fusa (in black notation) in mensural notation; thus the name came to be used for different notes.

See also

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