AskDefine | Define quaver

Dictionary Definition



1 a tremulous sound
2 a musical note having the time value of an eighth of a whole note [syn: eighth note]


1 give off unsteady sounds, alternating in amplitude or frequency [syn: waver]
2 sing or play with trills, alternating with the half note above or below [syn: warble, trill]

User Contributed Dictionary




quaver (quavers)
  1. a trembling shake.
  2. a trembling of the voice, as in speaking or singing.
  3. an eighth note, drawn as a crotchet (quarter note) with a tail.


a trembling shake
  • Hungarian: reszketés, remegés
a trembling of the voice
  • Hungarian: remegés
(music) an eighth note


  1. to shake in a trembling manner.
  2. to use the voice in a trembling manner, as in speaking or singing.


to shake
  • Hungarian: remeg, reszket
to use the voice in a trembling manner
  • Hungarian: trillázik

Extensive Definition

An eighth note (American or "German" terminology) or a quaver (British or Western classical terminology) is a musical note played for one eighth the duration of a whole note, hence the name.
Eighth notes are notated with an oval, filled-in note head and a straight note stem with one flag. (see Figure 1). A related symbol is the "eighth rest" (or "quaver rest"), which denotes a silence for the same duration.
In Unicode, the symbols U+266A () and U+266B () are a quaver and beamed pair of quavers respectively. The characters are inherited from the early-1980s code page 437, where they have codes 13 and 14 respectively.
As with all notes with stems, the general rule is that eighth notes are drawn with stems to the right of the notehead, facing up, when they are below the middle line of the musical staff. When they are on or above the middle line, they are drawn with stems on the left of the note head, facing down.
Flags are always on the right side of the stem, and curve to the right. On stems facing up, the flag starts at the top and curves down; for downward facing stems, the flags start at the bottom of the stem and curve up. When multiple eighth notes or sixteenth notes (or thirty-second notes, etc.) are next to each other, the stems may be connected with a beam rather than a flag, like the notes in Figure 2.
The word quaver comes from the now archaic use of the verb to quaver meaning to sing in trills. The term eighth note is a translation of German Achtelnote.
The note derives from the fusa of mensural notation; however, fusa is the modern Spanish and Portuguese name for the thirty-second note.
The names of this note (and rest) in European languages vary greatly:
The French name, croche is from the same source as crotchet, the British name for the quarter note. The name derives from crochata ("hooked"), to apply to the flags of the semiminima (in white notation) and fusa (in black notation) in mensural notation; thus the name came to be used for different notes.

See also

quaver in Bulgarian: Осмина нота
quaver in Catalan: Corxera
quaver in Spanish: Corchea
quaver in French: Croche (musique)
quaver in Galician: Corchea
quaver in Hawaiian: Hua mele hapawalu
quaver in Italian: Croma
quaver in Polish: Ósemka (nuta)
quaver in Portuguese: Colcheia
quaver in Swedish: Åttondelsnot
quaver in Chinese: 八分音符
quaver in Contenese: 八分音符

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Bebung, accidental, anthem, aphonia, artificial voice, ballad, bob, bobble, bounce, break, breve, broken speech, broken tones, broken voice, bump, carol, chant, chatter, childish treble, chirp, chirrup, choir, choked voice, chorus, cracked voice, croak, croon, crotchet, crow, demisemiquaver, descant, didder, disquiet, disquietude, dither, dithers, do-re-mi, dominant, dominant note, double whole note, drawl, dysarthria, dyslalia, dyslogia, dysphasia, dysphonia, dysphrasia, eighth note, enharmonic, enharmonic note, falsetto, falter, fidget, fidgetiness, fidgets, flat, flip out, fluctuate, fluctuation, flutter, freak out on, get high on, glow, go pitapat, grimace, half note, harshness, have an ague, have the fidgets, have the shakes, hawking voice, heave, heaving, hemidemisemiquaver, hesitate, hiss, hoarseness, hum, hustle, hymn, idioglossia, idiolalia, impairment of speech, inquietude, intonate, intone, jactitate, jar, jerk, jig, jigget, jiggle, jog, joggle, jolt, jostle, jounce, jump, lilt, lisp, lisping, loss of voice, mince, minim, minstrel, musical note, muzzy speech, nasal tone, nasalization, natural, note, oscillate, oscillation, palpitate, palpitation, pant, panting, patent note, pipe, pitapat, pitter-patter, psalm, quake, quaking, quarter note, quavering, quiver, quivering, report, responding note, restlessness, rictus, roulade, semibreve, semiquaver, serenade, shake, shake all over, shakes, shaking, shaped note, sharp, shiver, shivers, shock, shudder, sibilation, sing, sing in chorus, sixteenth note, sixty-fourth note, sol-fa, solmizate, speech defect, speech impediment, spiccato, squirm, staccato, sustained note, swell, swell with emotion, talk incoherently, tercet, thirty-second note, thrill, thrill to, throb, throbbing, tic, tingle, tingle with excitement, tone, toss, toss and turn, tremble, trembling, tremolando, tremolant, tremolo, tremor, trepidation, trepidity, trill, trillet, trilleto, trillo, triplet, troll, tumble, turn on to, twang, tweedle, tweedledee, twist and turn, twit, twitch, twitter, unrest, vacillate, vibrate, vibration, vibrato, vocalize, warble, waver, wavering, whistle, whole note, wiggle, wobble, wriggle, writhe, yodel
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