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In music, an eighth note (American or "German" terminology) or a quaver (British or "classical" terminology) is a note played for one eighth the duration of a whole note, hence the name.
Eighth notes are notated with an oval, filled-in note head and a straight note stem with one flag. (see Figure 1). A related symbol is the eighth rest (or quaver rest), which denotes a silence for the same duration.
In Unicode, the symbol is U+266A (♪).
As with all notes with stems, the general rule is that eighth notes are drawn with stems to the right of the notehead, facing up, when they are below the middle line of the musical staff. When they are on or above the middle line, they are drawn with stems on the left of the note head, facing down.
Flags are always on the right side of the stem, and curve to the right. On stems facing up, the flag starts at the top and curves down; for downward facing stems, the flags start at the bottom of the stem and curve up. When multiple eighth notes or sixteenth notes (or thirty-second notes, etc.) are next to each other, the stems may be connected with a beam rather than a flag, like the notes in Figure 2.
The word quaver comes from the now archaic use of the verb to quaver meaning to sing in trills. The term eighth note is a translation of German Achtelnote.
The note derives from the fusa of mensural notation; however, fusa is the modern Spanish and Portuguese name for the thirty-second note.
The names of this note (and rest) in European languages vary greatly:
The French name, croche is from the same source as crotchet, the British name for the quarter note. The name derives from crochata ("hooked"), to apply to the flags of the semiminima (in white notation) and fusa (in black notation) in mensural notation; thus the name came to be used for different notes.
- whole note
- half note
- quarter note
- sixteenth note
- musical notation
- dotted note
- swung eighth