About Rest Signs in Music

Aaron Shearer

(Re: the Text, p. 16)


In music notation there is an equivalent kind of rest for every kind of note. The term rest has two meanings: it refers to a specific sign as well as the effect of that sign. A rest is used in place of the kind of note its name represents; for example, a quarter rest ( ) is written in place of a quarter-note ( ♩).


While the effect of a rest is silence, strict observation of rests for the duration indicated is not always practical, nor indeed desirable, in music played on the guitar.   For example in most of Counting Duet No. 1 (p 17), the quarter rests should be interpreted only as beats not to play.  The ringing of notes from previous measures does not allow for true silence where rests occur.    Actually creating silence at the start of every first beat would require a dampening technique which is too difficult at this juncture.

 The subject of duration of both rests and notes in actual performance is not easily clarified and so must await a more advanced stage of development. Be that as it may, it should be emphasized that rests are an important element of rhythm and, during the earlier stages of training, must be counted as precisely as notes.


……..Aaron Shearer