Eighth note

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Figure 1. An eighth note with stem facing up, an eighth note with stem facing down, and an eighth rest.
Figure 2. Four eighth notes beamed together.

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An eighth note (American) or a quaver (British) is a musical note played for half the value of a quarter note (crotchet) and twice that of the sixteenth note (semiquaver), which amounts to one quarter the duration of a half note (minim), one eighth the duration of whole note (semibreve), one sixteenth the duration of a double whole note (breve), and one thirty-second the duration of a longa, hence the name. It is the equivalent of the fusa in mensural notation (Morehen and Rastell 2001)

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 two symbols are inherited from the early 1980s code page 437, where they occupied codes 13 and 14 respectively. Additions to the Unicode standard also incorporated additional eighth note depictions from Japanese emoji sets: ascending eighth notes (U+1F39C, 🎜), descending eighth noes (U+1F39D, 🎝), a graphical generic musical note generally depicted as an eighth note (U+1F3B5, 🎵), and three unconnected eighth notes in sequence (U+1F3B6, 🎶). Unicode's Musical Symbols block includes several variations of the eighth note; these are the versions intended to be used in computerized musical notation (as opposed to the others, which are graphical dingbats).

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.[citation needed]

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 16th notes (or 32nd 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'.'[citation needed]

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


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

The note derives from the fusa of mensural notation; however, fusa is the modern Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese name for the 32nd 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 (pinyin: bāfēn yīnfú) 八分休止符 (pinyin: bāfēn xiūzhǐfú)
Czech osminka osminová pomlka
Danish ottendedelsnode ottendedelspause
Dutch achtste noot achtste rust
Estonian kaheksandiknoot kaheksandikpaus
Finnish kahdeksasosanuotti kahdeksasosatauko
French croche demi-soupir
German Achtelnote Achtelpause
Greek όγδοο παύση ογδόου
Italian croma pausa di croma
Japanese 8分音符 8分休符
Korean 8분음표(八分音標 palbun eumpyo) 8분쉼표(八分-標 palbun swimpyo)
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
Swedish åttondelsnot åttondelspaus
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


  • Morehen, John, and Richard Rastall. 2001. "Quaver". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.