I’m learning music theory and I found a music sheet that I attach one part in a picture. If you see in the Treble Cleff, there are 8 eighth dotted notes and is a 4/4 signature. Like is a 4/4 is not supposed to be only the eighth notes alone without be dotted? Or why are dotted? It’s supposed 2 eighth notes make 1 quarter note and 4 quarter notes fill the 4/4 signature no? But why are dotted, is not required the dot no?

Music Sheet Example

2 Answers 2


The notes in the treble clef are not dotted eighth notes, but just plain eighth notes. The dots beneath the note heads are articulation marks which mean that the notes should be played staccato. If the stems were down instead of up the dots would be probably be above the note heads in your example, but articulation marks may in general be placed either above or below the note with the goal of maximizing legibility.

  • @coerrace -- sure. I changed the title of your question to make it easier for others to find in search. I thought that this question must be a duplicate, but I was unable to find one when I searched for it, hence my change in your title to make this easier for others to find. If you don't approve of the change you can rollback my edit at your discretion ;)
    – user39614
    Aug 5, 2018 at 2:02
  • No problem, is ok you can move wherever you wish. Regards
    – coerrace
    Aug 5, 2018 at 2:04

In addition to David's as-usual great answer, I thought I'd offer a clarification to a common misunderstanding among beginning musicians:

Staccato does not mean short. The term comes from the Italian for "detached," thus staccato actually just means separated. Just how separated is up for interpretation, but in my experience beginning musicians often play staccato pitches too short. Typically this is because they are conceptualizing them as to be played "short" instead of "separated."

  • Staccato generally is playing a note for about half of its value, thus leaving a space the same length after it, before the next note. Mezzo-staccato leaves around 3/4 of the note value as sound, while staccatissimo goes the other way, and the notes lose about 3/4 of their length, which is how a lot of beginners play staccato notes. Easier to write dots instead of lots of rests, but maybe not as accurate.
    – Tim
    Aug 6, 2018 at 12:09

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