In music, a rest (Whole Rest, Half Rest, Quarter Rest…) is a brief silence, a short break in the flow of sound. In musical notation, a rest is the sign that indicates such a break.
Just as there are music note of different values (whole note, half note, etc.), there are rests of different value. For each value of note, there is a rest of equivalent value; for each value of rest, there is a note of equivalent value.
Music Rests of Different Values
The example below shows how some of the music notes making up a musical phrase can be replaced with music rests of equivalent lengths.
Now, the same musical phrase, but some music notes have been changed in rests:
Note Value and Silence of an Equivalent Duration
There is a musical silence for each value of note
Difference Between American English and British English
AMERICAN ENGLISH – BRITISH ENGLISH
- Whole Rest – Semibreve Rest
- Half Rest – Minim Rest
- Quarter Rest – Crotchet Rest
- Quaver Rest – Quaver Rest
All the Musical Silences
Note and rest values are not limited to those shown above. There are also a sixteenth note and a sixteenth rest (Semiquaver rest), a thirty-second note and a thirty-second rest (Demisemiquaver rest), a sixty-fourth note and a sixty-fourth rest (Hemidemisemiquaver rest).
The duration of a rest may be increased by half but it’s reserved to modern music.