Guide to Note Value: 5 Common Note Values in Music

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 2, 2021 • 3 min read

Music consists of two principal elements: pitch and duration. Pitch depends on which note gets played and the wavelength and frequency of the sound the note produces; pitch is represented by note names and by the location of notes on musical staves. The duration of a note depends on when a note is played and for how long it sounds. To represent musical duration, composers and performers use a measurement known as note value.