Whole note in 2/4 timeSomebody asked me today, “How many beats is a whole note in 2/4 worth?”

I must admit that I stumbled for a moment before remembering: You shouldn’t encounter a whole note in 2/4 time, since the length of the note would be exceeding that of the measure. Instead you’ll see this written as two half notes tied together.

If by some chance you did encounter a whole note in 2/4, then it would be worth 4 beats. (Unless you can tell that the engraver was confused and thought that a whole note simply takes up a “whole” measure, in which case hold it for 2 beats.)

Great ice breaker for your musician acquaintances! ๐Ÿ™‚

Related reading

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How to Choose a Tempo When Sight Reading
How to Recognize Ledger Line Notes Quickly

Evan R. Murphy

Evan is a musician, music teacher, software engineer and the founder of SightReadingMastery. Realizing how important sight reading is to unlocking opportunities in music, he started SightReadingMastery in 2011 to help musicians develop this valuable skill. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Rebecca.

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