What are Dotted Notes?

Notes and rests can have their lengths increased if we add one or more dots. 

For Grade 1 ABRSM music theory, you only need to understand what happens when we add one dot. Notes with dots next to them are called dotted notes

(For Grade 1 Trinity, you’ll only be tested on dotted minims (dotted half notes). At Grade 2 Trinity dotted crotchets (dotted quarter notes) are introduced.

Dots are always placed on the right-hand side of the note head.

A dot makes a note (or rest) longer by 50%. Or, in other words, a dotted note is equal to itself, plus half of itself.

Normally, a crotchet (quarter note) is worth one beat.


Crotchet (quarter note) = 1 beat

 If we add a dot to the note, its length is increased by 50% (the note plus half its length).

how a dotted crotchet works

Dotted crotchet (quarter note) = 1 + 1/2 beat = 1.5 beats

A minim (half note) is worth two beats.


If we add a dot, its length is also increased by 50%.

how a dotted minim works

Dotted minim/half note = 2 + 1 = 3 beats

A quaver (eighth note) is worth half a beat.


Adding a dot increases its length by 50%. 

how a dotted quaver works

Dotted Notes Exercises

Hover your mouse over the question to reveal the answers (tap on mobile devices).

1. What effect does a dot on the right hand side of a note have?

2. Write one dotted note which is equal in length to the given notes.

dotted-notes 0 0dotted-notes 0 1dotted-notes 0 2dotted-notes 0 3

3. Write one note (dotted or undotted) which is equal in length to the given notes.

more-dotted-notes 0 0more-dotted-notes 0 1more-dotted-notes 0 2more-dotted-notes 0 3