# beats counting time

The pulse of a melody defines its beats, and rhythm comes from playing notes with a combination of durations and beats.

A note can be held for several beats by putting a number like `2` or `3` after the pitch. It can be held for a fraction of a beat by putting a fraction like `/2` or `2/3` after the pitch.

### Combining Beats into a Rhythm

Consider the difference between these two examples. First, five notes, each one beat:

```play "C C C C C"
```

And five notes with different beats:

```play "C C/3 C/3 C/3 C2"
```

### Rests

Silent beats are called "rests" and they are represented by a `Z` instead of a pitch.

```play "C C Z C"
```

See more examples on the reference page for rests.

### Abbreviations

A fraction of a beat can be written `C1/3` or just `C/3` for short. If the fraction is one-half, `C/2` can be further shortened to `C/`:

```play "C/F/FFC/C/C/_E/E/F"
```

### Triplet Notation

Playing three notes in two beats time is an interesting and distinctive rhythmic pattern. It can be written by giving each note a `2/3` beat, but it can also be written by preceding the three notes by `(3`:

```play "C C (3 C C C C"
```