Barlines (2023)

Barlines are vertical lines that cross staves in order to show how music is divided into bars, according to the time signature.

There are a number of different types of barlines that are used in different contexts:

Normal (Single)

A standard single barline that spans the entire height of the staff. For single-line staves, the barline extends one space above and below the staff line by default.

(Video) Time Signatures, Bars and Barlines

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A double barline consists of two lines, both the width of single barlines, positioned half a space apart by default. It is often used to denote significant changes in the music, or to mark the placement of rehearsal marks, key signature changes, and tempo changes.

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A final barline consists of two lines: one of normal width, the other thick. It marks where the music ends.

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A dashed barline has the same thickness as a normal barline, but has gaps within it to give it a dashed appearance. It is used to subdivide bars to make complex time signatures easier to read, and to differentiate editorial barlines from ones originally in the manuscript.

(Video) Bar Lines in Music_ Music Theory Easy [4 min]

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A tick barline is a short line that spans only the top line of the staff. It is useful when notating plainsong, in which context it denotes a breath or short gap between phrases, or other music with an unusual metrical structure.

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A short barline spans the middle of the staff, which on a five-line staff is between the second and fourth lines. On staves with fewer than fives lines, the short barline is scaled proportionally. It is useful when notating plainsong, in which context it denotes a longer gap between phrases than a tick barline.

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A thick barline is half a space wide by default, so it is noticeably thicker than a normal barline. This gives it a greater visual impact.

(Video) Music Theory for Beginners: Bar Line

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Start repeat

A start repeat line consists of a thick barline, followed by a normal barline, followed by one of the following arrangements of dots:

It shows the start of a repeated section. It is used alongside end repeat lines, which show the end of a repeated section.

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End repeat

An end repeat line is the mirror of a start repeat line, so it consists of either two or four dots, followed by a normal barline, followed by a thick barline. It shows the end of a repeated section. It is used alongside start repeat lines, which show the start of a repeated section.

(Video) Barlines & Beyond - Burke, Chakroborty, Magnusson, Evans

End/Start repeat

This line combines the start repeat and end repeat barlines, with either two single barlines with a single shared thick barline in the middle, or two thick barlines and no single barlines. On either side, there are either two or four repeat dots. It is used when a repeated section is immediately followed by another, separate repeated section.

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(Video) How to Use Measures and Bar Lines for Musical Notation


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