Reading Music Lesson #43: Eighth Notes

reading music lessonEighth notes look similar to quarter notes, except they are connected by a beam.

beamed eighth notes

It takes a group of two eighth notes beamed together to equal one quarter note in the 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4 time signatures.

eighth notes

That means this group of eighth notes must sound evenly over 1 beat.


Eighth notes subdivide (or evenly divide) the beat.  We say “1” for the first eighth note and “&” for the second eighth note.

eighth notes

If you’re tapping your foot to the beat while counting, the first eighth note will happen when your foot is down (on a number).

The second will occur when the foot is up (on the “&”).


It is common to see eighth notes beamed together in either groups of 2 or 4.  Don’t worry too much about this.  It’s just a way of organizing the notes to make it easier to read.

Now, let’s talk about what to do when we see one single eighth note all by itself.

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