Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
in the notation of Western music, sign indicating pitch by its position on the staff and showing duration by its shape. Notes evolved in the 13th century from neumes (q.v.), signs indicating relative or absolute pitch and nuance but not necessarily rhythm. The earliest notes were the longa, , and brevis, ; and their derivatives, the maxima, , and semibrevis, . In modern notation the brevis and semibrevis correspond to the double whole note, , and the whole note, . Other modern notes, in diminishing time value, are the half note, ; quarter note, ; eighth note, ; sixteenth note, ; thirty-second note, ; and sixty-fourth note, . Generally, music notation has favoured shorter note values in modern times.