What is the beat count of a whole note? (Answer Might Surprise You!)

Because it doesn’t have a stem, a whole note looks unique on the musical staff. How many beats can a complete message go? It is a challenging question to answer. This article will cover that and more questions about whole notes!

What is a Whole Note?

A whole note is a particular type of musical note that can be written in a ring or sideways zero shapes. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “a musical tone equal in time value to four quarters notes or two half-notes.”

What is the Beat of a Whole Note?

It brings us to our central question. A whole note can be held for four beats within a musical score. A complete message is usually held forwhich is a full measure. It is only sometimes valid (see caveats below).

It is why it is equal to four quarter notes. Each quarter note is similar to one beat, so four can be considered equivalent to a whole message.

Let’s take a look at one example. Here is a sample from How Great Thou Art, a piano arrangement. Are you able to find the entire collection?

The bass clef has two chords that are whole notes. These are the left-hand notes in measures one and three. The song’s time signature has four beats. It means that the left-hand chords in this song are sustaining, and the right-hand play more notes. It is an excellent way of using whole notes when writing music!

Is Whole Note always 4 Beats?

There are caveats to music theory, as with all things in life. Whole notes are usually four beats long, but there are times when this can change.

Here’s how to determine how many beats a note has: The time signature

The message will receive 4 seconds if the time signature has a “4” at the bottom. In 3/4 and 4/4, for example, a quarter note receives one moment, a whole note gets two beats, a half-note gets 2, a dotted note gets three, and an entire message gets 4.

However, if the time signature changes to 2/2, then everything changes. This time signature means that a half-note gets one beat and a whole note only gets two moments.

The whole note is worth eight beats if the time signature is 12/8. However, it only appears sometimes. This scenario is where the entire message only takes up part of the measure since there are 12 beats per measurement in this time signature.

Time signatures also do not allow for whole notes to be used. 3/4, for example, cannot use a complete message because it won’t fit into a 3-beat measure. The same goes for 6/8.

It isn’t apparent, I know. Remember, the key to determining the length of the entire note is the bottom number in your time signature.

Is a whole note equal to a half rest?

A whole note is not the same as a half rest. Two beats of silence are required for a half rest.

A whole note can be equal to an entire rest. It means a complete message will get four beats of silence, and a genuine note will get 4 seconds of held down.

Even if it has a different time signature, a whole note is not the same as a half rest. A half rest is always shorter than a complete note/rest.

How many beats is a whole note plus a half note?

Sometimes, a whole note may be tied to another message. In this case, you should always count the regular times of the two letters and add them together.

For example, if the time signature is 4/4, add four beats to the whole note and 2 seconds to the half note, resulting in 6 beats total.

How do you draw a whole note?

A sideways zero on the staff can draw a whole note. You can remove the message in the spaces or by cutting through. Fill in the inner spaces a little more to make it appear more authentic.


Music is made up of whole notes. This article should have clarified the number of beats complete notes get and how many beats they are. Now, grab some music and start looking for full notes. Find out how many you can find!


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