Bar Lines and Measures
The staff is divided with vertical black bars called bar lines.
Bar lines divide the staff into measures. The above staff has been split into two measures by one bar line placed in the middle.
There are two reasons why we utilize measures in sheet music:
- They make it easy to keep track of where we are and help us find our place in a song (if you are asked to go to the fifth measure you can quickly find the right place to start playing).
- More importantly, measures help us keep time.
How Bar Lines and Measures Help Keep Time
One of the big rules when writing music is that only a certain number of beats are allowed to go into each measure. By limiting the number of beats in a measure to a fixed amount, composers create a highly structured flow to their songs.
You may have never thought about it before, but songs tend to have a consistency that helps them flow. It’s the relationship between beats and measures that make this happen.
Different Kinds of Bar Lines
So far we have focused on the standard single vertical bar line, but there are multiple different types:
This concludes everything you need to know about bar lines and measures. Now it’s time for you to head to the next chapter and learn about the different kinds of notes used in music.