Reading Music Lesson #30: Half Rests

This reading music lesson is a supplement to the Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory self-study workbook. While no book is perfect for learning how to read music, this is one of the best available. The concise explanations, brief practice exercises, ear-training CD’s, glossary of music terms, and answer key make it an excellent value. Buy this top-rated self-study course for beginners to advanced musicians and follow along with me.
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Half rests look similar to whole rests.

The difference is in the direction of the hat.

The upside down hat of a whole rest is turned right side up to create a half rest.

half rests vs whole rests

If you can imagine a person wearing this hat, then you know it’s a half rest and not a whole rest.

half rests


Half rests are worth 2 beats of silence.

half rest

This means that every 2 beats of no playing or singing (complete silence) equals 1 half rest.

Now that you know the difference between a whole rest and a half rest, it’s time to move on to the quarter rests.

Useful Rhythm Flashcards

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Fun Learning Rhythm Games

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