Relative Duration of Silence
During a piece of music there are not always notes being played. Sometimes there are periods of silence. Just as there are relative durations of sound, so too there are relative durations of silence. We call the symbols for these durations of silence rests.
Whole Note Whole Rest
Half Note Half Rest
Quater Note Quater Rest
Eighth Note Eighth Rest
Sixteenth Note Sixteenth Rest
On the left-hand side of the above chart are all notes, and on the right-hand side are the corresponding rests of equal duration. Because they are of equal duration, they share the same names with their counterparts. For example, a half “rest” is half the duration of a whole “rest”, just as a half “note” is half the duration of a whole “note”.
The whole note fills an entire measure with silence no matter what the meter. This means that the whole rest will be equal to 2 beats in a measure of 2/4 meter.
A whole rest will be equal to 3 beats in a measure of ¾ meter.
A whole rest will be equal to 4 beats in a measure of 4/4 meter.