I came across this writing in a ukulele tab.

I assume H means half and E means eighth, but what could the "H.=H" mean?

  Q   Q.    E   E E E E E E   E E E  E  E  E

As you can guess, I haven't got a big solfège education.

  • 1
    Tabulature is so non-standard that it's probably best to ask the person who wrote the tab. Apr 3, 2017 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


I'd guess that H.=H probably means that dotted half gets what half got before. Thus the music speeds up. Unless (as this is non-standard), it means to slow down. The problem is that 6/8 (and this seems correct) for the six Es, 6/8 is usually divided in to two dotted quarter notes. There is no real use of a half note in 6/8 so its confusing (to me).

  • If it was 6/8 it works for the 2nd and 3rd bars, but not the 1st, unless it's written wrongly!
    – Tim
    Apr 2, 2017 at 17:28
  • @Tim: No, the first bar contains a quarter (2), a quarter with dot (3) and an eighth (1), resulting in ((2+3+1)/8)=(6/8)
    – arc_lupus
    Apr 2, 2017 at 17:39
  • @arc_lupus - what you missed is that 6/8 is TWO lots of 3 quavers - splittable into two halves. Your maths is good, but it doesn't divide like that in 6/8.
    – Tim
    Apr 2, 2017 at 19:30
  • 1
    The first bar looks more like 3/4 than 6/8, but maybe it's 6/8 written in a non-standard way, that is, it should have been an eighth tied to a quarter but the person who transcribed this decided to use a single note with the same total duration instead. (How would one indicate tied notes in this notation, anyway?)
    – David K
    Apr 2, 2017 at 21:26
  • Actually, there is no indication at all on the tab. Usually, if the rhythm changes, you write that the quarter is 120 and then that is 90, don't you ? Apr 3, 2017 at 15:05

This seems to be a 'metric modulation' notation, indicating the tempo relationship between the first bar, apparently in 3/4 and the subsequent bars, apparently in 6/8. It's far from clear what is intended. Might this be an automatic conversion from notation?


I guess that the written part is in 3/4, as Q +Q. +E could be quarter, dotted quarter and quaver (eighth), making three quarters per bar. The following 6 Es confirm that.

H.could be a dotted minim (aka a dotted half-note).Which could put the previous into a sort of 6/4, so the latter part is sort of half per bar of the former.

  • The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Wikipedia both say a quaver is an eighth note and a semiquaver is a sixteenth. My guess would be that Q stands for a quarter note (aka crotchet).
    – David K
    Apr 2, 2017 at 21:21
  • @DavidK - thank you for that. I need to mind my qs ! Got quaver and quarter mixed up.Edited - I think...
    – Tim
    Apr 3, 2017 at 6:30

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