What the Hell is a Hemidemisemiquaver?

Category: Miscellaneous

So what is a hemidemisemiquaver? I’ll give you one clue: It’s not a fancy quantum physics term for strings of energy vibrating in ten dimensional space… Do you give up? OK, I’ll just tell you then.

Well –  the British employ an entirely different set of names to identify rhythmic values of notes.. and I must admit, their set of names sounds much fancier than the American standard.

Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of UK note names. UK rhythmic value names are rooted in an old form of musical notation called mensural notation. In American-English, rhythmic value names are based on fractions of a measure of 4/4 music.


 US Name UK Name # of Beats

in 4/4 Time

Whole Note Semibreve 4 brevenote
Half Note Minim 2 minimnote
Quarter Note Crochet 1 crotchetnote
Eighth Note Quaver 1/2 quavernote
Sixteenth Note Semiquaver 1/4 seminote
Thirty-Second Note Demisemiquaver 1/8 deminote
Sixty-Fourth Note Hemidemisemiquaver 1/16 heminote


So next time your coworkers are gathered around the water cooler talking about semibreves and quavers, you will be able to chime in.

Posted on January 2nd, 2014 by sharlene

1 Comment

  1. Carlyn Herz Says:

    Very helpful chart for beginners….thank you.

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