A music measure is a little section of sheet music that is separated by two vertical bars. I included it in my book because songwriters who write with sheet music will have measures in it. It’s important to know what these are if you’re working with them, so let’s break it down:
What is a music measure?
In sheet music, one bar of the staff is called a measure. If the tempo is 4/4, that means there are four counts in the measure. It gets extremely detailed and people spend years learning things like this, so I don’t expect to teach you everything in one blog post.
So, when do you need to know about measures?
Generally, only when reading sheet music. I just sang an Italian aria for a client (my first as a session singer!) and that was one of maybe two times I’ve had to read sheet music professionally. However, I was glad for my training while working on it and had I not known how to read, it would have been difficult if not impossible.
I’ve had years of training, but I haven’t used it regularly so I’m a little rusty at it. If you’re like me, or you haven’t had any training, there are many great websites to learn. https://www.musictheory.net/lessons has some great ones, as does Rick Beato on his YouTube channel. There are also theory courses available on sites like Udemy if you want to check them out!
Okay, I don’t ever plan on reading sheet music. That means I don’t need to know about measures, right?
Eh, I guess. But having a feel for music, in general, will help you as a performer, composer or musician. Learning these things will help. It will also help you get more jobs and work with different genres, people, and ideas.
If you’re a songwriter giving sheet music to your session musicians, it could save time to number each measure. This way if you need an edit or want to reference part of the song, you can refer to “measure 34” and everyone will know where we are right away.
Hopefully, this helps a little with the concept of music measures! Again, it’s a very long topic to study and I highly recommend doing more independent research on it, but this should at least give you an idea of what they are for!