The 3 Key Elements of a Measure in Music

organized closetLet’s see if you can read this sentence.


Were you able to read it?  How long did take you?

Read it again and decide which one is easier.

I love music.

This last example is certainly a lot easier to read than the first one.  Why is that?

I think it has something to do with the spaces in between the words.

A Well Organized Closet

Reading music is simpler if the closet is organized well.  We can find things quickly if all the towels are in one place, the toilet paper in another, and the first-aid kit has a place of it’s own.

When things are grouped together, it makes it nicer to find what you need at a quick glance.

The same thing is true with music.

How to find a Measure in Music

Like a well organized closet, the music staff is organized using these 3 key elements:

#1 – A Single Bar Line

This is a thin vertical line that divides the music into sections making it easier to line

#2 – A Double Bar Line

At the end of a song you will find two vertical lines with one being thicker than the other.  This states the music is over and everything comes to a screeching halt.  Okay, maybe not really screeching.  It’s a little more euphoric and blissful than that…final double bar line

I actually like to call this a final double bar line because we do have another type of bar line.double bar line

This double bar line has two vertical lines of equal thickness, but a very different purpose.  It is simply stating the end of a section…not the end of a piece.

#3 – A Measure

The space between the bar lines is called a measure or it is often referred to as a bar.  (No, not the Sam Saloon kind, silly.)

Back to Our Sentence

Remember our “I love music” example?  Now, imagine the spaces between the words as bar lines and the letters are the notes grouped together within each measure.measure in musicThe period at the end of the sentence is the final double bar line.

  • Measure 1 = “I”
  • Measure 2 = “love”
  • Measure 3 = “music”

What About the Closet?

Look at it again.  I can find things pretty easily in this closet because it’s organized well.measure in music

  • Measure 1 = towels
  • Measure 2 = toilet paper
  • Measure 3 = first-aid kit

Yep, everything looks well stocked and ready to go.

What’s in Your Closet?

Do you see how this all works?  Just like your closet, a music staff can keep your music notes/rests grouped together systematically with everything in it’s place.

Each organized section of your closet is a measure in music.  The door that closes off your closet is the final double bar line.

That reminds me, my closet could sure use a little organization right now…

photo credit: amy_b via photopin cc

2 thoughts on “The 3 Key Elements of a Measure in Music”

  1. Thanks so much Eugene! I appreciate you sharing it on Pinterest! I will have to check it out. Thanks! 🙂

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