I'm confused about notation in my music sheet for my training classical guitar, in this photo there are 2 beats notation (orange circle) but the time signature is 3/4, can someone explain me how many beats on the notation i circled?enter image description here

  • I think the question is about dotted minims vs undotted minims, not about rests below notes. The dotted minim has a value of three counts and lasts for the entire bar. Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 14:59
  • I apologize, I think Brian is right and I misunderstood the question. Perhaps the question is about dotted notes: adding a dot (beside the note, like this, not above or below) adds half of whatever the note was originally worth (so 2 beats + 1 beat = 3). Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


In written music there's a simple way to write some notes longer. It involves a dot after the note. Not to be confused with a dot above or below a note.

That dot increases the note value by 50%. So, the minim you circled would normally be 2 beats long, but with the dot there, it's increased by 50% (another 1 beat), making it 3 beats long, thus filling the whole bar. Then, it's simply called a dotted minim.

Those dots can be added to any note value, and will always increase that value by 50%.

This is likely a dupe of a different Q/A...


I think you may be mixing up the terms beat and note.

You circled two dotted half notes, not two beats.

If the issue is not understanding the basics of note durations and time signatures, first review notation fundamentals. Here are two sources with good, concise overviews. They are for piano, but the overviews will apply to all instruments.

The rest is a break down of you particular example.

How many beats will depend on the time signature. In your example the time signature is 3/4 which means each measure gets three beats and the duration of each beat is one quarter note.

In the preceding measure you will see there are three quarter notes. Again, in 3/4 time, each of those three is a beat. So, that measure gives an easy to read example of three beats in each measure.

The dotted half note is equal in duration to three quarters notes, which again are three beats, so the dotted half notes are also three beats in duration. It may be easier to just see it in notation with two staves...

enter image description here

...see how one dotted half note fills one measure, and three quarter notes also fills one measure? They are equal in total duration: three beats. Also, you can see that six eighth notes is also equal to three beats. Each eighth note is equal to one half of a beat... in 3/4 time.

That brings up one complication to should be mentioned now, because you will surely encounter it soon, and probably have questions. If the time signature were 6/8 it would be in compound time. (Look that up, there will be plenty of online info and also post about it in this forum.) The important thing to know if 6/8 is comprised of only two beats where each beat is equal to three eighth notes...

enter image description here

...notice that the three eighth notes are group with a beam into two beamed groups. That visually shows how there are only two beats.

Also, notice that in the second measure we again have a dotted half note, like in the 3/4 example. This is where we get to the important complication. While various groups on notes can be equal in duration of time...

enter image description here

...that does not necessarily mean they are all equal in number of beats.

You will only know how many beats by looking at the note rhythm values and looking at the time signature.

A dotted half note is equal to three beats in 3/4.

A dotted half note is equal to two beats in 6/8.

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