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It seems to me that the quarter rest we see everywhere was drawn with a calligraphy pen. I don't have one of those - I have a sharpened/mechanical pencil or a ball-point pen. So usually when I try to imitate the shape of a quarter rest, it looks a lot like a 3.

What is a proper/accepted "thin" version of the quarter rest symbol?

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This is an interesting question. I gave up on finding an accepted form years ago; I just make a consistent scribble. –  Babu Jun 6 '11 at 9:54
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It looks to me like it was drawn with a quill. The calligraphy pens I've used would have to be held in the left hand to draw this (not that that rules it out). –  Matthew Read Jun 6 '11 at 20:06

4 Answers 4

up vote 41 down vote accepted

http://www.lancastersymphony.org/Portals/1/docs/pdfs/music%20notation/Rests_8_lowres.pdf

Qurater OR Crochet rest


http://www.openguitar.com/theory/tw02_preparing_score.html

To draw the quarter rest, draw the right side of a letter “R”, omitting the vertical, or start with a number “2”, but pull the horizontal line down on the right. Put the hook on the bottom and it’s done. The quarter rest is a letter “R” suitable for being placed next to a letter with a vertical right side. It’s right out of Gutenberg’s Bible. The hook on the bottom is merely embellishment.

The “classical” quarter rest is a mirror-reversed 8th rest. Don’t use it.

Some people draw a version of the “S” rest which was introduced in the very early 1800’s to replace the “classical” rest. The “S” rest is like an S or backwards “Z” with the top and bottom concave instead of convex or straight. Another way to draw it is to make a line down and curving left, straight to the right, and then curving left and down. That is the easiest way to start, and I recommend it to you. If you rotate that clockwise you have an “S” rest. Or copy the eighth doubled and backwards. Or chop away half of both curves of a Gutenberg rest.

There is a lot of variation to be found in the quarter rest. The problem with the Gutenberg rest is that it takes too much vertical space and therefore collides with other rests or notes too often. For handwriting music, the Gutenberg rest and the classical rest are the worst, in my opinion.


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I am looking at this, and to remember position, I see that there are basically 3 characters that are centered on each of the 3 middle lines: First a backslash \ , then a left angle bracket < and at last a little C c. –  awe Feb 28 '12 at 9:32
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When drawing this, my instructor would always have me say "zig, zag, zig, c", and for some reason it really helped. –  Tanaki Nov 22 '13 at 21:05

I was taught to use a lower case z with a lower case c under it, with the bottom of the z touching the top of the c.

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This is good for remembering the form and number of line segments to use, and if you additionally "stretch" the z so the top and bottom lines have an angle instead of drawing them horizontally, it looks better (and is basically closer to the answer by mplungjan). –  awe Sep 9 '11 at 8:52

I was always taught to write a slanted 2 and then make a c below it.

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In Britain we would simply draw a lower case z in the middle of the stave, and this is considered legible. It's what we teach children, too.

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