AskDefine | Define crotchet

Dictionary Definition



1 a sharp curve or crook; a shape resembling a hook [syn: hook]
2 a musical note having the time value of a quarter of a whole note [syn: quarter note]
3 a strange attitude or habit [syn: oddity, queerness, quirk, quirkiness]
4 a small tool or hook-like implement

User Contributed Dictionary



From Old French crochet (‘small hook’), from croc (with diminutive suffix -et), from Old Norse krókr (‘hook’). The musical note was named so because of a small hook on its stem in black notation (in modern notation this hook is on the quaver/eighth note).


  1. A sharp curve or crook; a shape resembling a hook.
  2. needlework made using such a hooked needle
  3. A musical note one beat long in 4/4 time.
  4. a whim or a fancy



(musical note)

Derived terms


  1. To make needlework by looping thread with a hooked needle

Extensive Definition

In music, a quarter note (American or "German" terminology) or crotchet (British or "classical" terminology) is a note played for one quarter of the duration of a whole note (or semibreve). Quarter notes are notated with a filled-in oval note head and a straight, flagless stem. The stem usually points upwards if it is below the middle line of the stave or downwards if it is on or above the middle line. However, this may be changed if there is more than one part to differentiate between the parts. The head of the note also reverses its orientation in relation to the stem. (See image.)
In Unicode, the symbol is U+2669 ().
A related symbol is the quarter rest (or crotchet rest). It denotes a silence of the same duration as a quarter note. Some describe the quarter rest as a "z joined to a c."
The note derives from the semiminima of mensural notation. The word crotchet comes from Old French crochet, meaning 'little hook', diminutive of croc, 'hook', because of the hook used on the note in black notation. However, because the hook appeared on the eighth note (or quaver) in the later white notation, the modern French term croche refers to an eighth note. The term quarter note is a loan translation of German Viertelnote.
The names of this note (and rest) in European languages vary greatly:
The French and Spanish names for the note (both meaning "black") derive from the fact that the semiminima was the longest note to be colored in mensural white notation, which is true as well of the modern form. The Greek names mean "quarter" (for the note) and "quarter's pause" (for the rest); all rests in music are called "pauses" in Greek.
crotchet in Catalan: Negra
crotchet in Spanish: Negra
crotchet in French: Noire (musique)
crotchet in Galician: Negra
crotchet in Hawaiian: Hua mele hapahā
crotchet in Italian: Semiminima
crotchet in Polish: Ćwierćnuta
crotchet in Portuguese: Semínima
crotchet in Simple English: Crotchet
crotchet in Contenese: 四分音符
crotchet in Chinese: 四分音符

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

L, accidental, angle, apex, bee, bend, bifurcation, bight, boutade, brainstorm, breve, cant, capriccio, caprice, chevron, coin, conceit, corner, crank, craze, crazy idea, crook, deflection, demisemiquaver, dogleg, dominant, dominant note, double whole note, eccentricity, eighth note, elbow, ell, enharmonic, enharmonic note, fad, fancy, fantastic notion, fantasy, flat, flimflam, fool notion, fork, freak, freakish inspiration, furcation, half note, harebrained idea, hemidemisemiquaver, hook, humor, inflection, kink, knee, maggot, megrim, minim, musical note, natural, nook, note, notion, passing fancy, patent note, point, quarter note, quaver, quirk, quoin, report, responding note, semibreve, semiquaver, shaped note, sharp, sixteenth note, sixty-fourth note, spiccato, staccato, sustained note, swerve, tercet, thirty-second note, tone, toy, triplet, twist, vagary, veer, vertex, whim, whim-wham, whimsy, whole note, zag, zig, zigzag
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