Reading Music #32: Bar Lines

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This reading music lesson is a supplement to the Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory self-study workbook. While no book is perfect for learning how to read music, this is one of the best available. The concise explanations, brief practice exercises, ear-training CD’s, glossary of music terms, and answer key make it an excellent value. Buy this top-rated self-study course for beginners to advanced musicians and follow along with me.
Best Self-Study Workbook
Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory: A Complete Self-Study Course for All Musicians (Book & 2 CDs)
$25.00

The best music theory book for self-study at home that includes an answer key in the back, CD's for ear-training, a short explanation of each concept, practice exercises, and a glossary of music terms.

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11/14/2021 12:04 am GMT

Bar lines divide the music staff into equal sections.

These single vertical lines help us to organize the notes and rests in a way that make it easier to read.

bar lines

As you can see, they run straight up and down reaching the top and bottom lines of the staff.

On the grand staff, bar lines pass through the treble and bass clef staves.

grand staff bar lines

Reading

I like to compare bar lines to the spaces we find in between words in a book.  If we take those spaces out and cram all the words together, it makes it difficult to read.

Canyourreadthis?

If we put those spaces back in, it’s a whole lot easier and faster to read.

Can you read this?

Measure

The area between the bar lines is called a measure or bar.

Either term is widely used and accepted around the world.

measure

The staff you see above is divided into 3 measures.

Can you see how these lines make it easier for us to read?

Let’s now take a look at some other types of lines that are also useful in music.

Useful Music Theory Reference Guides

Popular Music Theory Cheat Sheet
Music Theory and History SparkCharts
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This foldable 8x10 inch music theory cheat sheet is an excellent quick reference guide when you need to find the answer fast. The side 3-hole punch allows you to keep it in a 3-ring binder. It is sturdy and folds out featuring music theory and notation on the front and music history on the back.

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11/14/2021 12:06 am GMT
Essential Dictionary of Music: The Most Practical and Useful Music Dictionary for Students and Professionals (Essential Dictionary Series)
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A practical pocket-size music theory dictionary and music notation reference guide that is perfect for all musicians from beginner to professional.

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11/14/2021 12:06 am GMT
The Hal Leonard Pocket Music Dictionary
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A convenient music theory book that is small enough to fit in your pocket, backpack, or instrument case. A great reference guide for all musicians at any level of music study.

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11/14/2021 12:04 am GMT

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