Saturday, 21 May 2011

Music Theory Lesson: What are Time Signatures, Bars and Barlines?

Today we will be looking at some other important aspect of the music: Time Signatures, Bars and Barlines.

First let us discuss the meaning of the term "Time Signature".
Time Signatures are musical symbols that tells us number of beats or counts that are in each bar of a piece of music. There are different types of time signature but today we will only look at "Simple Time Signatures". Time Signatures are numbers written above each other that appears at the beginning of a piece of music after the clef sign. Below are examples of simple time signatures.
Each time signature has its own meaning and function in music.

Now let us take a look at how each time signature is presented on the staff and the meaning of each.

When you see this time signature on the staff it means that there are two beats or counts in each bar.

This time signature tells us that there are three beats or counts in each bar.

This time signature means that there are four beats or counts in each bar.

N.B. >  There will be a follow up lesson on time signature, explaining the concept in more details.

Now what are Bars and Barlines?

"Bars or Measures" are divided sections on the staff or stave on which musical notes are written. Each bar includes specfic notes or rest based on the time signatue used. Bars or Measures are formed by barlines. Barlines are vertical lines that are used to separate each bar on a piece of sheet music.
The diagram below should explain.

Here you see that the area on which musical notes, rest and other symbols are written is called a bar or measure. Bars or measures cannot be formed unless there are barlines.

Barlines are used throughtout the entire music but a double barline is used when the music comes to an end.
Here is an example of a double barline.

Thanks for participating in todays lesson. Have a wonderful day and remember to subsribe or leave your comments. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a great lesson.

    I just wanted to share some additional information. There are at least two kinds of double bar lines (the reason I found this site). The one pictured above is accurately described as signifying the end of a movement or composition. The one I was interested has two thin bar lines. This indicates a transition point in the music; when the key or time signature changes for example.