In early days music was a staff without divisions. In those days each music note was counted by the number of beats it represented. But as the music started to become more regular, musicians started putting or using bar lines to it to show how it was divided. In those times bar and measures were lines and content respectively but currently, these two are interchangeable.
After the invention of bars, the music and its making has become really easy. This was a great revolution in the field of music. In previous times bar lines were used in vihuela in nearly 15th and 16th centuries. It was only after the 17th century that bar lines were used rather for getting started the modern style of music. In this article, we will learn and understand about bars in music.
What is a Bar in Music?
A bar is also known as a measure – is used in writing music. This is a process of organising an unwritten form of music in a written form and arranging into small segments slots. Each and every bar containing the music has a very small amount of time allotted to it.
The music where beats fall as 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4, the segments will be divided into four parts. Also, the music is divided into regular small beats or pulse that can be felt specifically. The bar is separated with a bar line. The different types of bar lines available are single, double and repeat lines.
What is a Measure in Music?
In the world of music or music notation, a measure is referred to as a segment of time corresponding to some particular beats. Here each and every beat is represented by a specific note value and the boundaries that the measure has is represented by bar lines or measure lines. The measure is another term to the bar.
Bar Line Music Measurement Explained
Bar lines is basically few lines having control, they “line up”. These are vertical lines used to divide music in bars. In general, they give more clarity to music and make it simple to read and look for. There are four types of bar lines in music which are:
1. Single Bar Line
It is the most basic bar line among all others. The only use of it is that it will tell us where the measure is. The job of this is to show the end of “container” that generally holds a certain number of beats. The Single-line just divided music into several parts.
2. Double Bar Line
A double bar line is two thin lines vertically facing each other. This is generally used to separate sections in a passage of music. Double lines which are used by non-English speakers are referred to as “douvle barre de measure? barrede separation”- in FRENCH, “doppia stanghetta/narra/linea”- in ITALIAN, “Doppeltaktsstrich; Doppelstrisch; doppelter Takstrich” – in GERMAN.
This proves that in a different language the use of double lines is in a different form. Now the question is how to apply or use the double bar line? Well here is your answer.
- A double bar line can be used before a key change
- A double bar line can be changed before a tempo (one of the elements of Music)
- A double bar line can be used before a chorus or a bridge or when the overall style is being changed
- A double bar line at certain times occurs with repeat command like dal segno or da capo
- A double bar line can be used before the change in time signature mid-line is taking place Suppose the change is taking in the middle measure then a double bar line is in use can be used (While you compose your musical piece)
Hence these are the few instances when a double bar line can be used.
3. End Bar Line
End bar line or the final bar line is the last line in the music composition. A final bar line is a form of double bar line composition. Here the second line is thicker than the first. Using this leads to the end of the music composition. The use of final bar line is to denote the end of musical composition.
4. Repeat Symbol
A repeat bar line is basically the symbol that is drawn with the double line and also has two dots. The two dots are placed in the position where one is in the top and other in the bottom. The use of this symbol is to repeat the measure. Here the left and the right repeat bar line symbolise to wrap the section that has already been repeated. This section will be played one more time.
Now, let us discuss how to count bars and actually use them. Now In the entire conversation we had learnt that this is a useful technique used in music but if we do not learn the actual utilisation of what is the use?
How to Count Bars?
For counting bars first and foremost you need to know about measures and time signature. Once you are thorough with these two it will be easy for you to understand bars.
Step 1: Try and figure out the time signature of the song-
For learning time signature, you need to listen to music and try and count some of the most common signatures. Keep this process in practice and you will grasp this in time. Try to count loudly like one…two…. Three…four….one…two…three…four…
This is a good method to learn but if this is not feasible then you can try your hands in the 3/4 method. One…two…three…one…two…three…
Another method is to go for the 6/8 method that is One…two…three…one…two…three…four…five…six…One…two…three…one…two…three…four…five…six…
Any of these methods can be adopted with a little practice.
Step 2: Start Counting-
The next step once you have learnt time signature is to just start with the counting. Now if the song is 4/4 you will know that after you reach 4 you have counted one bar. For example, its 1,2,3,4 = 1 bar again 1,2,3,4= 2 bar again 1,2,3,4= 3 bar and the process go on.
This will be followed for the other time signatures as well. So as soon as you are reaching the end of a bar then you increase your bar count.
Step 3: Practice Listening-
Music is all about listening. Yes, it is definitely singing but also listening will help you grasp the song. It is more helpful than singing or playing. Hence always listen to music and eventually it will turn into picking it on sheets. Practice makes a man perfect and keeping it in practice will lead to success like you did while learning to play Banjo.
Time Signatures in Bars of Music
Now we have been discussing time signature throughout the article but what is actually tie signature? What is the use of it in music? And what is the significance of time signature?
Well first let’s know the other names of time signature, which are, measure signature, meter signature or metre signature. These are notational convention usually used in western music to specify or symbolise certain beats or pulses. These are contained in bars and this is equivalent to a beat.
In music, time signature usually comes in the beginning as a time symbol or will appear immediately following the key signature. The time signature that follows a bar line immediately is a mid-score time signature. This mid-score time signature indicates a change in meter.
There are also various types of time signature they are:
- Irrational meters 3/10 or 5/24
- Additive 3+2+3/8
- Fractional 2/1.5/4
- Mixed 5/8 & 3/8 or 6/8&3/4
- Compound 9/8 & 12/8
- Complex 5/4 or 7/8
- Simple 3/4 and 4/4
The 3/4 time square is the most common among musicians. This is mainly used for waltzes. So when you see people playing waltzes try and count one…two…three..one..two…three…..and you will get your beat. 4/4 is also the standard time square which is generally used in music, rock, country pop, jazz etc.
In time square, the first number answers how many. This basically means the number of beats you need to count on one bar or on one measure. And the bottom number will let you know the number of beats you are getting in each note. Hence, for example, the time square is 3/4 then the number of beats is one…two…three and the number of notes is one…two…three…four…
Also Read: Best MPC for Beginners (To make your composition making process simpler)
So, this was all about “Bars in Music”. To learn about bars, measures, bar lines, time square and about different beats in music, all you need to do is listen to music and practice it. This two are the only pass way to grab all that has been discussed here. All these items make writing music easy and hence adapting it also.