If we divide a whole rest in half, we would have two half rests. In other words, two half rests equal one whole rest.
How To Spot Them
Since half rests look an awful lot like whole rests, we need to have a unique way of identifying them. Take a look at it right now. Doesn’t it look like a little hat? There you go. Half rests are little top hats…all dressed up and nowhere to go.
The half rest sits on top of the third line of the music staff. This is different from the whole rest that hangs below the fourth line.
A good way to tell the difference between a whole rest and a half rest is that whole rests will usually take up an entire measure all by themselves.
Half rests usually need other notes or rests to help fill the measure. The only exception to this is if there were only two beats in a measure. In that case, one half rest is all you need to fill one measure.
A Little More Math…
Just to make sure you’ve been paying attention, here’s a little pop quiz:
Q. How many half rests equal one whole rest?
A. Yep, the answer is two.
Okay, let’s make things a little bit more difficult.
Q. How many quarter rests equal one half rest?
A. The answer again is two.
If you got both answers correct, then a big congratulations to you! This shows that you have really been taking control of your music learning.
Half rests are the cute little top hats of rhythmic notation. This makes them pretty easy to spot at a quick glance. They are close cousins to the half note with both equaling two counts each. Now that you know what they are and how to handle them, you are on your way to more musical success!