A double whole note or breve is a note in music, lasting twice as long as a whole note (or semibreve). In Mediaeval music, the breve was the shortest note length, and could be either a half or a third as long as the longa, but in modern music notation it is the longest note with a distinct symbol.
In modern notation, a breve is represented by a hollow oval note head, like a whole note, with one or two vertical lines either side (as on the left of the image). In older notation, it is represented by an oblong (as shown in the middle of the image). An alternative notation consists of two adjacent hollow oval note heads (the right of the image).
Because it lasts longer than a bar in most modern time signatures, the breve is now rarely encountered. In time signatures where the top number is exactly twice that of the bottom, however, it lasts a whole bar and so may still be found (the most common time signature of this kind is 4/2).
A related symbol is the double whole rest, or breve rest, which usually denotes a silence for the same duration. It is often used in long silent passages which are not divided into bars to indicate a rest twice as long as a whole rest. This and longer rests are collectively known as measure rests .
Double whole rests are drawn as filled-in rectangles occupying the whole space between the second and third lines from the top of the musical staff:
Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:39:11
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46