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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 © Brandy Kraemer
Definition: 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

  5. 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)

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