Notes that are dotted or have a dot placed after the note head are referred as "Dotted Notes". A note of any timing can be a Dotted Note.
What Does The Dot Do?
When a dot appears behind a note head the note receives an additional 50% of its' timing value or half again as much. This is very simple for Dotted Whole Notes, and Dotted Half Notes, but when we move on to Dotted Quarter Notes and Dotted Eighth Notes, it becomes much more difficult.
- Whole Note = 4 beats
- Half Note = 2 beats
- Quarter Note = 1 beat
- Eighth Note = 1/2 beat
Now lets add a dot behind each of these notes.
Now Our Timing Example Would Be:
- Dotted Whole Note: = 6 beats (4 beats for Whole Note; 2 beats for the dot)
- Dotted Half Note: = 3 beats (2 beats for the Half Note; 1 beat for the dot)
- Dotted Quarter Note: = 1-1/2 beats (1 beat for the Quarter Note; 1/2 beat for the dot)
- Dotted Eighth Note: = 3/4 beat (1/2 beat for the Eighth Note; 1/4 beat for the dot)
As you can see, with the Whole Notes and Half Notes, even when you add the dot, the timing will still come out "on the beat", because we are dealing with whole numbers as beats. It's when we reach fractional numbers that if becomes a bit more challenging to get it just right.
Additional Articles of Interest:
How to Read Tablature
How to Read Chord Diagrams
All About Musical Terms