Bar Lines, Measures & Time Signatures

Bar Lines & Measures

Bar lines & measures

Bar lines & measures

A staff is in fact separated into sub-sections referred to as measures. Each measure is separated using vertical lines called bar lines. The above image shows 2 measures, which have been separated using 2 bar lines.

Time Signatures

Time signatures are used to specify exactly how long each measure is, and they are defined using 2 numbers. Let’s take a look at a few examples as this is the easiest way to show the use of time signatures:

Time signatures

Time signatures

Here we have 4 examples of the use of time signatures. In the first measure, the time signature states that the measure should have the duration equivalent to 4 quarter (1/4) notes. Notice how this would in fact have the same duration as a single whole note. However a measure does not always have to have the duration equivalent to a whole note, as shown in the rest of the examples.

The second example states that the measure is required to have the same duration as 2 quarter (1/4) notes. In the same way, the third example has the duration equivalent to 6 quarter (1/4) notes. The last measure is a little different and needs to have the same duration as 6 eighth (1/8) notes.

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