Music rests in piano music.
Eighth, quarter, half, and whole rests. Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition of Music Rest:

A rest is a musical symbol that marks the absence of a note. Rests are written in a measure where no note is played; and, like music notes, they are measured in length. Quarter, half, and whole rests are among the most common.*

Music rests only affect the staff in which they occur; a rest in the bass staff won’t affect the treble staff, and vice versa. However, a rest may be written in a staff full of notes if there are two planes of action – continue for a visual example:

* Rest names may be in U.S. or U.K. English, like notes. A U.S. whole rest is also called a U.K. “semibreve rest”; a quarter rest is also a “crotchet rest,” and so on.

Multilingual Synonyms:

  • pausa (It)
  • silence (Fr)
  • Pause (Ger)

More Musical Symbols & Commands:

How to Read Sheet Music:

See the notes on the treble and bass staves, as well as their ledger lines, and learn mnemonic devices to help you remember them.

Key signatures take some time to memorize. Whether you want to identify one or learn how to write one on the staff, this interactive and quick key signature finder will help.

 ● Tempo Commands Organized By Speed
Resource for the most common tempo terms in Italian, French, and German, organized by their BPM (beats per minute).

 ● How to Read Piano Fingering
Little numbers are sometimes written next to the notes on the staff to help you sort out which fingers you should use on which keys. Fingering is frequently found in beginner notation but is also seen alongside difficult passages in more advanced sheet music.

 ● Chord Types & Their Symbols
See the various symbols that specify certain chords in notation, and learn how to form them using simple formulas.

Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
 ▪  Left Hand Piano Fingering
 ▪  How to Count Triplets
 ▪  Musical Quizzes & Tests

Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
 ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
 ▪  Buying a Used Piano

Forming Piano Chords
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Left-Hand Chords With Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance

Piano Care & Maintenance
 ▪  Best Piano Room Conditions
 ▪  How to Clean Your Piano
 ▪  Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
 ▪  When To Tune Your Piano