double barline

Double barlines and dotted double barlines in piano music.
Top Measure: A double barline marks a key change from A major to C major. Bottom: A meter change mid-measure with a dotted double barline. Image © Sidney Llyn

Meaning of Double Barlines

A double barline refers to two thin, vertical lines used to separate different sections of a musical passage. Double barlines are used in the following ways:


  1. Before a key change
  2. During an overall change of style; or before a chorus or bridge
  3. Before changing the time signature mid-line. If the change occurs mid-measure, a dotted double bar is used; see image.
  4. Before a tempo or Tempo I
  1. Sometimes occurs with the repeat commands dal segno (D.S.) or da capo (D.C.)


If the command fine is found in the middle of a composition, it will be accompanied by a final barline (in which case the song’s very last measure ends with a double barline); fine mid-measure is seen with a dotted double barline.

      ●  Learn More About Constructing a Musical Staff

See single barline and repeat bar.


Also Known As:

  • double bar
  • doppia stanghetta / barra / linea (It)
  • double barre de mesure / barre de séparation (Fr)
  • Doppeltaktstrich; Doppelstrich; doppelter Taktstrich (Ger)

More Italian Music Commands:

▪  : "from nothing"; to gradually bring notes out of complete silence, or a crescendo that rises slowly from nowhere.

▪  decrescendo: to gradually decrease the volume of the music. A decrescendo is seen in sheet music as a narrowing angle, and is often marked decresc.

▪  delicato: “delicately”; to play with a light touch and an airy feel.

▪  : very sweetly; to play in a particularly delicate manner. Dolcissimo is a superlative of "dolce."


Reading Piano Music
 ▪  Sheet Music Symbol Library
 ▪  How to Read Piano Notation
 ▪  Memorize the Staff Notes
 ▪  Illustrated Piano Chords
 ▪  Tempo Commands Organized By Speed

Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
 ▪  Intro to 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

Forming Piano Chords
 ▪  Chord Types & Their Symbols
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords


Reading Key Signatures:

All About Key Signatures
Everything you need to know about the accidentals & key signatures.

Use the interactive key signature locator to identify or double-check your key.

There are always two keys that relate to one another more than any other key. Find out what this means.

Comparing Major & Minor
Major and minor are often described in terms of feelings or mood. The ear tends to perceive major and minor as having contrasting personalities; a contrast that is most obvious when the two are played back to back. Learn more about major and minor scales and keys.

The 6 Enharmonic Key Signatures
If you’re familiar with the circle of fifths (or you just know your way around the key signatures) you may have noticed a few anomalies. Some keys – like B-sharp and F-flat major – are seemingly absent, while others go by two names

The Inefficient Keys
The circle of fifths shows only the working scales. But, if we expand on its pattern, we can see that it’s actually more of an infinite spiral, so there’s no end to the possibilities of musical scales.

Table of Working & Non-Working Keys
See a clear visual of which keynotes are workable and which would be redundant.