Bar (music)

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In musical notation, a bar (or measure) is a segment of time corresponding to a specific number of beats in which each beat is represented by a particular note value and the boundaries of the bar are indicated by vertical bar lines. Bar (music)_sentence_0

Dividing music into bars provides regular reference points to pinpoint locations within a musical composition. Bar (music)_sentence_1

It also makes written music easier to follow, since each bar of staff symbols can be read and played as a batch. Bar (music)_sentence_2

Typically, a piece consists of several bars of the same length, and in modern musical notation the number of beats in each bar is specified at the beginning of the score by the time signature. Bar (music)_sentence_3

In simple time, (such as 4), the top figure indicates the number of beats per bar, while the bottom number indicates the note value of the beat (the beat has a quarter note value in the 4 example). Bar (music)_sentence_4

The word bar is more common in British English, and the word measure is more common in American English, although musicians generally understand both usages. Bar (music)_sentence_5

In American English, although the words bar and measure are often used interchangeably, the correct use of the word 'bar' refers only to the vertical line itself, while the word 'measure' refers to the beats contained between bars. Bar (music)_sentence_6

In international usage, it is equally correct to speak of bar numbers and measure numbers, e.g. ‘bars 9–16’ or ‘mm. Bar (music)_sentence_7

9–16’. Bar (music)_sentence_8

Along the same lines, it is usually recommended to reserve the abbreviated form ‘bb. Bar (music)_sentence_9

3–4’ etc. for beats only; bars should be referred to by name in full. Bar (music)_sentence_10

The first metrically complete bar within a piece of music is called ‘bar 1’ or ‘m. Bar (music)_sentence_11

1’. Bar (music)_sentence_12

When the piece begins with an anacrusis (an incomplete bar at the head of a piece of music), ‘bar 1’ or ‘m. Bar (music)_sentence_13

1’ is the following bar. Bar (music)_sentence_14

Bar Bar (music)_section_0

Originally, the word bar came from the vertical lines drawn through the staff to mark off metrical units and not the bar-like (i.e., rectangular) dimensions of a typical measure of music. Bar (music)_sentence_15

In British English, these vertical lines are called bar, too, but often the term bar line is used in order to make the distinction clear. Bar (music)_sentence_16

A double bar line (or double bar) can consist of two single bar lines drawn close together, separating two sections within a piece, or a bar line followed by a thicker bar line, indicating the end of a piece or movement. Bar (music)_sentence_17

Note that double bar refers not to a type of bar (i.e., measure), but to a type of bar line. Bar (music)_sentence_18

Another term for the bar line denoting the end of a piece of music is music end. Bar (music)_sentence_19

A repeat sign (or, repeat bar line) looks like the music end, but it has two dots, one above the other, indicating that the section of music that is before is to be repeated. Bar (music)_sentence_20

The beginning of the repeated passage can be marked by a begin-repeat sign; if this is absent the repeat is understood to be from the beginning of the piece or movement. Bar (music)_sentence_21

This begin-repeat sign, if appearing at the beginning of a staff, does not act as a bar line because no bar is before it; its only function is to indicate the beginning of the passage to be repeated. Bar (music)_sentence_22

In music with a regular meter, bars function to indicate a periodic accent in the music, regardless of its duration. Bar (music)_sentence_23

In music employing mixed meters, bar lines are instead used to indicate the beginning of rhythmic note groups, but this is subject to wide variation: some composers use dashed bar lines, others (including Hugo Distler) have placed bar lines at different places in the different parts to indicate varied groupings from part to part. Bar (music)_sentence_24

Igor Stravinsky said of bar lines: Bar (music)_sentence_25

Bars and bar lines also indicate grouping: rhythmically of beats within and between bars, within and between phrases, and on higher levels such as meter. Bar (music)_sentence_26

History Bar (music)_section_1

The earliest barlines, used in keyboard and vihuela music in the 15th and 16th centuries, didn't reflect a regular meter at all but were only section divisions, or in some cases marked off every beat. Bar (music)_sentence_27

Barlines began to be introduced into ensemble music in the late 16th century but continued to be used irregularly for a time. Bar (music)_sentence_28

Not until the mid-17th century were barlines used in the modern style with every measure being the same length, and they began to be associated with time signatures. Bar (music)_sentence_29

Modern editions of early music that was originally notated without barlines sometimes use a mensurstrich as a compromise. Bar (music)_sentence_30

Hypermeasure Bar (music)_section_2

A hypermeasure, large-scale or high-level measure, or measure-group is a metric unit in which, generally, each regular measure is one beat (actually hyperbeat) of a larger meter. Bar (music)_sentence_31

Thus a beat is to a measure as a measure/hyperbeat is to a hypermeasure. Bar (music)_sentence_32

Hypermeasures must be larger than a notated bar, perceived as a unit, consist of a pattern of strong and weak beats, and along with adjacent hypermeasures, which must be of the same length, create a sense of hypermeter. Bar (music)_sentence_33

The term was coined by Edward T. Cone in Musical Form and Musical Performance (New York: Norton, 1968), and is similar to the less formal notion of a phrase. Bar (music)_sentence_34

See also Bar (music)_section_3

Bar (music)_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar (music).