Systemic barlines in piano music.
Systemic barlines connect the two staves of the grand staff, which can also be called a "system.". Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition of Barline:

A bar line (or barline) is a single vertical line used to divide a musical staff into measures. In piano music – or any music in which a grand staff is used – bar lines connect both staves throughout the composition; these are called “systemic barlines.”

A bar line may also be referred to simply as a “bar.” However, in British English, bar is synonymous with measure. Other types of bar lines include the double bar, the repeat bar, and the final barline.


Also Known As:

  • barline / bar-line
  • stanghetta; barra (It)
  • [simple] barre de mesure (Fr)
  • Taktstrich (Ger)


More Musical Symbols & Commands:

Grand StaffKey SignaturesTime SignaturesTempo & Speed
Music NotesMusic RestsSharps & FlatsDotted Notes
Repeat SignsNote AccentsVolume SymbolsNote Ornaments


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How to Read Sheet Music:

See the notes on the treble and bass staves, as well as their ledger lines, and learn mnemonic devices to help you remember them.

Key signatures take some time to memorize. Whether you want to identify one or learn how to write one on the staff, this interactive and quick key signature finder will help.

 ● Tempo Commands Organized By Speed
Resource for the most common tempo terms in Italian, French, and German, organized by their BPM (beats per minute).

 ● How to Read Piano Fingering
Little numbers are sometimes written next to the notes on the staff to help you sort out which fingers you should use on which keys. Fingering is frequently found in beginner notation, but is also seen alongside difficult passages in more advanced sheet music.

 ● Chord Types & Their Symbols
See the various symbols that specify certain chords in notation, and learn how to form them using simple formulas.


Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
 ▪  Left Hand Piano Fingering
 ▪  How to Count Triplets
 ▪  Musical Quizzes & Tests

Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
 ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
 ▪  Buying a Used Piano
 ▪  Tips for Finding the Right Piano Teacher
 ▪  Musical Keyboard Comparison Guide

Forming Piano Chords
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Left Hand Chords With Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords

Piano Care & Maintenance
 ▪  Best Piano Room Conditions
 ▪  How to Clean Your Piano
 ▪  Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
 ▪  Signs of Piano Damage
 ▪  When To Tune Your Piano