Pronounced: BIB-lee-uh-phobe, noun

Notes: Okay, this is (probably) an easy one, but I didn’t know this word existed

Yesterday’s word

The (long) word hemidemisemiquaver is a 64th note, which I don’t think one finds very often

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1800s

Background / Comments

According to what I’ve read, in the UK they use different names for musical notes that are used in America:

America UK
whole note semibreve
half note minim
quarter note crotchet
eighth note quaver
sixteenth note semiquaver
thirty-second note demisemiquaver

Once they get to quaver for the eighth note, different prefixes meaning “half” keep being added. The prefix semi- is Latin; demi- is French, and hemi- is Greek; thus, half of a half of a half of an eighth note is a 64th note. The word quaver comes from Middle English quaveren (to shake or tremble). In any event, most of the music I see doesn’t have anything smaller than a sixteenth note (semiquaver), but I do have a vague recollection of seeing 32nd notes in some work by Liszt or Chopin. Finally, if you noticed the semibreve in the list above and wondered if there is a breve, yes there is: the UK breve is a double whole note, and I don’t know the notation for that note, probably because of it’s rareness — you would need a time signature of 8/4 or equivalent (4/2 or 16/8).

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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