How Many Counts Are Dotted Half Notes?

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dotted half notesThe half notes with a dot attached to them are called exactly what they look like, dotted half notes.  Whenever you see these little guys, you hold them for a total of 3 counts.

How do I know this?  Well, if you follow the dot rule or the 3-step process for problem solving dotted notes in music, you should get the same answer.

Let’s take a look at it again.

The dot rule tells us to add half the value of the note to the note.

  1. How many counts total are half notes?  Yep, they are 2 counts total.
  2. Let’s figure out how much the dot is worth.  What is half the value of a half note?  In other words, divide the half note by 2 (or in half).  What do you get?  You should get a quarter note or 1 count.  The dot, therefore, equals a quarter note or 1 count.
  3. Now, add the half note and the dot (quarter note) together.  How much do you get?  Yes, you should get a total of 3 counts.  Do you see where the 3 counts come from?  It isn’t just made up by somebody or created for no reason.

dotted half notes

More complex rhythms in music (like dotted half notes) are derived from simple rhythms mathematically.  What’s cool about this is that it gives you the power to problem solve any rhythm you encounter.

So, dotted half notes are worth a total of 3 counts.  Mathematically, they equal a half note plus a quarter note (2 + 1 = 3).  Now, instead of stopping at 2 counts for a half note, you will continue counting all the way to 3 in order to recognize the dotted half note.

It’s as simple as that.  Remembering the dot rule, going through the 3-step process to problem solve the dot, and little mathematical brainpower is all you need!

One Reply to “How Many Counts Are Dotted Half Notes?”


“Count” is a type of verb. You are using the word as a noun. One learns studying music theory, the “beat” is the basic unit of time. A note’s value is stated in beats or divided beats. Therefore, you count the beats; one does not count the counts.

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